Yankees honor Willie Randolph and Mel Stottlemyre with plaques and a 14-3 win over the Tigers

The day started with a wonderful celebration of Willie Randolph’s career and the usual Old Timers’ Day fun, not to mention a surprise Monument Park plaque for Mel Stottlemyre, and it ended with a blowout 14-3 win over the Tigers. Pretty awesome day all around. The Yankees have won four straight and are now 20-11 with a +46 run differential at Yankee Stadium in 2015. Home sweet home.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
.274/.314/.432 over the last month. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Simon Says: Score Runs
Games like this are the toughest to recap because I don’t even know where to start. We all know what happened. The Yankees scored a ton of runs and they did it in every way possible. With singles, with homers, with sac flies … even with a hit-by-pitch. Six different Yankees drove in a run and eight different Yankees scored a run. The end result: 14 runs on a season-high 18 hits. They also drew six walks and struck out just five times. Pretty great game. Here are some points I want to highlight:

(1) Brett Gardner hit for the cycle. Well, sorta. He hit for the cycle in four at-bats spanning Friday to Saturday. Gardner homered in his last at-bat Friday, then on Saturday he tripled in his first-bat, doubled in his second at-bat, and singled in his third at-bat. That’s a cycle in four at-bats across two games. Doesn’t count in the record books but it’s still pretty cool. Gardner went 3-for-6 in the game overall. He is 10-for-20 on the homestand. Scorching hot.

(2) Carlos Beltran hit two home runs and they couldn’t have been any more different. The first was a moonshot he pulled over the home bullpen and into the right field bleachers as a left-handed batter. The second was an opposite field Yankee Stadium cheapie he reached out and poked to right field as a right-handed batter. It was the 12th time Beltran homered from both sides of the plate in one game in his career. That’s one shy of the all-time record held by … wait for itMark Teixeira and Nick Swisher. How about that?

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

(3) The biggest at-bat of the game was Alex Rodriguez‘s three-run home run in the third inning, I think. At least that was the biggest at-bat in hindsight. The Yankees worked Alfredo Simon really hard — he threw 85 pitches to get eight outs — and they had five runs on the board already, but A-Rod‘s monster homer off Ian Krol turned this one into a true laugher. Five runs is a nice lead. Eight runs? That feels like game over. And it was a bomb too. A-Rod crushed the ball deep into the left field seats. Zero doubter. He drove in five runs in the game.

(4) The two-run fourth inning rally was the stupidest rally ever. Not one, but two check swing bloops fell in for base hits. Didi Gregorius, who homered earlier in the game, tried to check his swing, made contact, and the ball fell in. Chris Young did almost the exact same thing two batters later. In between, Stephen Drew hit a weak grounder to short and Gregorius managed to beat the flip to second. It was scored a hit for whatever reason. (Fielder’s choice, no?) It was that kind of night. Everything went right, even the check swings.

(5) The top and bottom of the order did a lot of damage. The top three hitters went a combined 7-for-13 (.538) while the bottom three hitters went 6-for-14 (.429). The middle of the lineup did well too (3-for-10) but the top and bottom really stood out. The Yankees scored in each of the first five innings and went 4-for-13 (.308) with runners in scoring position. (I thought the RISP numbers would be better than that.) Utility infielder Josh Wilson pitched the eighth inning for Detroit — Young took him deep — and he forgot to cover first base on a ground ball, giving Brendan Ryan an infield single. The Yankees could do no wrong offensively.

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

Nasty Nate
Obviously the offense is the story of the game, but it shouldn’t be overlooked that Nathan Eovaldi rebounded from his disaster start earlier this week to hold the Tigers to two runs in six innings, and he wasn’t even on the mound for the two runs. (Bryan Mitchell allowed a pair of inherited runners to score.) Eovaldi struck out four and held Detroit to two base-runners in the first five innings. They didn’t have a runner reach second base until Rajai Davis’ leadoff double in the seventh. I’m sure all the offense made life easy. Still nice to see Eovaldi rebound so well.

Mitchell made his season debut and wasn’t great, though it doesn’t really matter. In addition to the two inherited runners he allowed to score, Mitchell surrendered one run of his own on four hits in three innings. He gets a save for throwing the final three innings in the blowout. This was the definition of mop-up duty for Mitchell. Throw strikes and get the game over with. It was nice to see the regular late-inning relievers get a second straight day off. The Yankees needed a laugher like this for more reason than one.

Kinda covered everything already, right? Here are all the Old Timers’ Day videos if you missed any of it. Also make sure you check out the Mel Stottlemyre plaque surprise if you haven’t. What a tremendous moment.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights, and here are the updated standings. The AL East is so tight, geez. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Now here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Tigers will wrap up this three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka and Anibal Sanchez will be on the bump. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch that game or any of the other upcoming home games live and in person.

DotF: Judge and Flores continue hot streaks with homers

Triple-A Scranton (7-5 win over Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-5
  • RF Jose Pirela: 1-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 SB — six walks and five strikeouts in his last 16 games
  • LF Ramon Flores: 2-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB — threw a runner out at second … second homer in his last five games
  • C Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • RHP Jaron Long: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 5/2 GB/FB — 56 of 87 pitches were strikes (65%)
  • LHP James Pazos: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2/4 GB/FB — 20 of 33 pitches were strikes (67%)
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/1 GB/FB — ten pitches, seven strikes
  • RHP Jose Ramirez: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 12 of 21 pitches were strikes (57%)

[Read more…]

Video: Yankees surprise Mel Stottlemyre with plaque in Monument Park

Hands down, the best moment of Old Timers’ Day this afternoon was the Yankees surprising Mel Stottlemyre with a plaque in Monument Park. Stottlemyre played with the Yankees from 1964-74 and served as the team’s pitching coach from 1996-2005.

Over the last few years Stottlemyre has been battling multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, and the treatment has really taken its toll. Getting to Old Timers’ Day from his home in Washington was not a given. But Stottlemyre made it and the Yankees surprised him with a plaque. Check it out. This is truly fantastic.

Great job, Yankees. Keep fighting Mel.

Game 68: Old Timers’ Day

Willie's Day. (Presswire)
Willie’s Day. (Presswire)

Today is one of my favorite days of the season: Old Timers’ Day. It’s not just Old Timers’ Day either — the Yankees will also honor Willie Randolph with a plaque in Monument Park today, something that is long overdue. He’s arguably the best second baseman in franchise history, after all. One of the three best at the very least.

The full roster of Old Timers can be found right here. No Derek Jeter, no Jorge Posada, no Andy Pettitte, and no Mariano Rivera. Lame. No Hideki Matsui or Mike Mussina either. Even lamer. Still plenty of all-time greats though. I’m looking forward to seeing Bernie Williams, Wade Boggs, Charlie Hayes, and Johnny Damon the most for some reason. I mean, I want to see all of ’em, but those four in particular.

Here are the Old Timers’ Game lineups, via the Yankees on Twitter:

Old Timers' Day Lineups

Now, the bad news: the weather kinda stinks today. It was raining this morning into the early afternoon, though things cleared up not too long ago and the forecast says it will stay clear for Old Timers festivities. Then it’s supposed to start raining again later tonight. The baseball gods will clear things up and make sure they get the ceremonies in. I’m sure of it.

The Old Timers’ Day stuff starts at 4pm ET and will be shown on YES. No, it is not streamed online anywhere as far as I know. At least not legally. Tonight’s game against the Tigers will follow at 7pm ET and will also be shown on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. The lineups haven’t been announced yet. That’ll happen closer to game time. For now, enjoy the Old Timers’ Day fun.

Update (3:39pm): The lineups for tonight’s game are out already. Here is the Tigers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. LF Chris Young
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

Enjoy the day, folks.

Injury Update: Mason Williams (shoulder) went for an MRI today, Joe Girardi told reporters. They don’t have the results yet. Williams jammed his shoulder diving back into first base on a pickoff throw last night.

Saturday Links: Miller, Bailey, Hall of Fame, Security

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

The Yankees and Tigers continue their series later today, after the 69th annual Old Timers’ Day. All the fun starts at 4pm ET. Here are some stray links to keep you busy until then.

Miller Still Shut Down

Ten days ago the Yankees placed Andrew Miller on the 15-day DL with a forearm muscle strain, and, as of Thursday, the left-hander still has not resumed throwing according to Dan Martin. “I’m still resting,” said Miller. The Yankees said Miller would be shut down 10-14 days after being placed on the DL and he’s still within the window, obviously. Miller’s not behind schedule or anything. He’s right on schedule, I guess. Hopefully he can resume throwing sometime in the next few days and get back to the team before the All-Star break. The bullpen without Miller has a totally different dynamic.

Bailey returns to the mound

Remember Andrew Bailey? The magic of Spring Training had us all thinking Bailey could actually help the Yankees this season, but instead he suffered a setback a few weeks into the season as he worked his way back from shoulder capsule surgery. Bailey was shut down in April with a shoulder strain and was scheduled to start a throwing program in May, though I guess that was delayed.

Earlier this week, Brian Cashman told Brendan Kuty that Bailey has indeed returned to the mound, throwing an inning in an Extended Spring Training game on Wednesday. I’m not sure what the plan is now — ExST is over (or will be very soon) now that the short season leagues are starting — but it sounds like Bailey is on the mend. The Yankees are going to want to see him pitch in minor league games, including back-to-back days before bringing him up. If Bailey can help at some point, great, the Yankees can use another reliever, but obviously the odds are quite long right now.

A-Rod‘s bat going to the Hall of Fame

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

There’s no word on what will happen with his 3,000th hit bat, but Alex Rodriguez has already donated his 2,000th RBI bat to the Hall of Fame, writes Ryan Hatch. “We extend our gratitude to Alex for donating the bat he used to record his 2,000th RBI to the Museum,” said Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson. The bat will be displayed as part of the “Today’s Game” exhibit at the museum. A-Rod has some other stuff in the Hall of Fame, including the helmet from his 500th homer and his spikes from Game Six of the 2009 World Series.

Alex became the second player in history with 2,000 RBI officially, joining Hank Aaron (2,297). It’s a weird situation though. RBI did not become an official stat until 1920, and MLB ignores everything that happened before then. Baseball Reference has retroactively calculated RBI totals and both Babe Ruth (2,214) and Cap Anson (2,075) have 2,000+ RBI, but MLB does not recognized their pre-1920 totals. It’s like they don’t exist. It’s so silly. Either way, A-Rod is in the 2,000 RBI club. Whether he’s the second member or the fourth member is immaterial. It’s an extremely exclusive club.

Yankees beef up security after Astros hack

Earlier this week word got out the FBI and Justice Department are investigating the Cardinals for hacking into the Astros’ proprietary database, which is a crime. Like an actual crime with legal implications. Last June some trade information was leaked from Houston’s system, at which point the Yankees beefed up their security system. Here’s what Brian Cashman told Christian De Nicola:

“We certainly added some more measures, spent more money to protect what’s privileged,” Cashman said. “It’s more inconvenient now for us to access our stuff, but we did it — again — to look for where those vulnerabilities were and made some adjustments and spent some more money to upgrade the process.”

“There were some extra steps. Were they necessary? We’ll never know, but we’re more secure by doing so. We felt secure before, but we made it more difficult now. It’s a little more inconvenience when we’re accessing our system ourselves, but we spent some more money to add some further measures, regardless. There were grumblings by employees at the front end of it, because to access our system it’s more difficult now for all of us to do so, but we’re better protected by the way we went about it.”

Every team has their own internal information system these days and, of course, all their scouting reports and statistical data are different. They all use stats differently and they all have different scouting reports, so the need to protect that information is obvious. I’m guessing the Yankees were not the only team to improve their security after the Astros’ leaks last year. Twenty-nine other clubs probably improved their security as well.

AROD3K by the numbers

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Did you actually think he’d do it any other way? Of course not. He’s A-Rod, so he had to do it in style, with an A-Bomb, a home run for hit No. 3,000 on the first pitch he saw in the first inning on Friday night. The only other players to get their 3,000th hit with a homer are Derek Jeter and Wade Boggs.

Whether you love him or hate him, cheer him or boo him, think he deserves a second chance or should be banned forever, the numbers are the numbers. 3,000 hits is 3,000 hits — and that is what it says on his baseball-reference.com page (or the back of his baseball card, for you traditionalists). Regardless of how you view A-Rod, it’s still history and a (not)milestone worth putting into perspective. So here we go, from the basics to the obscure …

A-Rod is the 29th player to reach 3,000 hits and the first since Jeter did it nearly four years ago. Jeter is also the only other member of the 3K hit club to celebrate the big 3-0-0-0 in a Yankee uniform. In fact no other player has done it in a uniform of any New York-based major-league baseball team — not the Mets, the Brooklyn Dodgers or the New York Giants. Four other guys in the 3,000-hit club did play for the Yankees at some point in their careers: Paul Waner, Boggs, Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield.

Rodriguez is now a member of two of the most exclusive milestone stat groups in major-league history — the aforementioned 29-member 3,0000-hit club and the 26-member 500-homer club. But only five of them, including A-Rod, are members of both fraternities: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro. If you up the homer total to 600, only Mays and Aaron match him there.

He joins an even more rare set of players if you want to include another underrated part of A-Rod’s five-tool skill set, his speed. Along with A-Rod, the only other guy with at least 300 stolen bases, 300 homers and 3,000 hits is Mr. Willie Mays. But Mays can’t match the 2,000-plus RBIs that A-Rod has, making Al from Miami the only major-leaguer to reach all four of those statistical marks in a career.

Of course, with all that power also comes a whole lot of whiffs. A-Rod is now the only player in major-league history with at least 2,000 strikeouts and 3,000 hits. Before him, the most career Ks by a member of the 3,000-hit club was Jeter, with 1,840.

A-Rod didn’t just get hit No. 3,000 against any typical pitcher, though, it was former MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. He joins Winfield — who got his 3,000th hit off Dennis Eckersley in 1993 — as the only players to get their milestone hit against a former Cy Young winner. Jeter and Rod Carew got hit No. 3,000 off pitchers that would later win the Cy Young award — David Price and Frank Viola.

It was hardly surprising that A-Rod’s 3,000th hit was a homer against Justin Verlander. He entered the game with an .821 slugging percentage vs. Verlander during the regular season, the highest mark by any player with at least 20 plate appearances against the Tigers’ righty.

I bet you didn’t know that one other Tigers pitcher gave up a 3,000th hit. That would be Pug Cavet, who welcomed the Indians’ infielder Nap Lajoie into the 3K hit club in 1914. Or how about the fact that one other player actually got hit No. 3,000 on June 19, just like A-Rod. Paul Waner did it in 1942 against the Pirates.

And I’m sure you also really wanted to know that the only one other player with at least 3,000 hits has a first name that begins with the letter A (Al Kaline), and just two others have a last name that begins with the letter R (Cal Ripken Jr. and Pete Rose).

That’s history, folks. Enjoy it.

DotF: Nova roughed up in rehab start; Staten Island starts season with a loss

Some notes:

  • RHP Drew Finley, this year’s third round pick, will start his career with the Yankees’ new Rookie Pulaski affiliate according to his Twitter feed. 2B Gosuke Katoh will be there too — Finley says they’re driving from Tampa to Pulaski together. They were high school teammates a few years ago.
  • Good news: 2B Rob Refsnyder and OF Aaron Judge rank 5th and 16th in this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet, respectively. Bad news: 3B Miguel Andujar made the Not So Hot Sheet. Two outta three ain’t bad!

Triple-A Scranton (5-2 loss to Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4 — threw a runner out at second
  • LF Jose Pirela & 2B Rob Refsnyder: both 0-4 — Pirela struck out twice
  • RF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 1 BB — Mason Williamsshoulder injury doesn’t sound serious, though I assume Flores is first in line to get called up
  • DH Gregorio Petit: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • C Austin Romine: 2-3
  • RHP Ivan Nova: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HB, 5/2 GB/FB, 1 E (missed catcher) — 49 of 84 pitches were strikes (58%) … wonder what happens now, another rehab start or back to MLB?
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 2/0 GB/FB — 31 of 48 pitches were strikes (65%) … 41/7 K/BB in 37.1 innings

[Read more…]