Game 123: Andy Pettitte Day

Yesterday afternoon the Yankees retired No. 20 and dedicated a plaque in Monument Park in honor of Jorge Posada, and today they’ll do the same for Andy Pettitte. No. 46 is officially coming out of circulation. This weekend honoring two all-time great Yankees continues today with Andy Pettitte Day.

Pettitte is arguably the best starting pitcher in franchise history and I don’t think I know a single person who doesn’t love Andy. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in strikeouts (2,020) and is third in innings (2,796.1), wins (219) and pitching WAR (51.6). Andy is certainly the team’s best starter during the expansion era, if nothing else.

Hall of Famer? I’d say Pettitte is borderline at best. He is a five-time World Series champ and was a rotation stalwart during the most recent Yankees dynasty, but his candidacy will be hurt by his performance-enhancing drug ties. Either way, Andy’s going into Monument Park, and deservedly so. Monument Park was built for guys like Pettitte.

Just like yesterday, fans have been asked to be in their seats by noon for the pregame ceremony, though the actual ceremony probably won’t start until 12:15pm or 12:30pm ET or so. YES will have the whole thing, as always. As for this afternoon’s game, here is Cleveland’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Brian McCann
  5. 1B Greg Bird
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    LHP CC Sabathia

It’s a bit cloudy in New York today and there is some rain in the forecast, but not much. Nothing that will ruin the ceremony or cause a postponement. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the ceremony and the game.

Injury Updates: Mark Teixeira (leg) did some light running and took batting practice for the first time since the foul ball. It seems unlikely he will play tomorrow … Bryan Mitchell (face) threw a bullpen session. He could make a minor league rehab appearance next, then come off the DL … Alex Rodriguez is healthy. Joe Girardi said he is trying to “refresh” him with two straight days off.

Roster Update: Garrett Jones, who was designated for assignment a few days ago, has been unconditionally released. He’ll probably hook on somewhere and serve as an extra lefty bench bat in September.

The Speed of the Game

It’s Friday night and I’m standing in left-center at Teufel Field. It’s the bottom of the first inning and there are runners on first and second with one out and the fourth hitter for the opposing team is at the plate with a 1-1 count (thank you, speed up rules). Our pitcher sets on the mound, rears his arm back, and arcs the ball towards home plate. The batter swings and sends a sinking line drive in my direction, slightly to my left. Eyes squinted in the less-than-idea lighting, I sprint towards the ball charging forward, sliding at the last second, securing the second out before popping up and trying (and failing) to double up the runner at second. This play could’ve happened at least three times in the amount of time it took me to write this and for you to read it. The game is fast, and that’s just slow-pitch softball. On Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, I got even more education on the speed of the game.


For the first time, I sat in the Legends seats–Section 14B, Row 2. As someone who played ball growing up and has watched and attended countless games, viewed from all over various in-stadium locations, I certainly knew how quick the game could be, but being so close hammered the point home (rudely at times, like Abraham Almonte’s screaming foul liner that buzzed our collective tower).  From Didi Gregorius‘s speed to the velocity of the pitches delivered by Luis Severino, Danny Salazar, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller, “fast” was the best way to describe yesterday.

With regards to that ‘micro-level’ speed, sitting so close to the action only furthered my appreciation for just how incredibly difficult baseball can be. The way hitters can react quickly enough to not just hit the ball, but hit it with authority, driving it all over the place, never ceases to amaze me. The way infielders can react to sharp ground balls and calmly field them is a near marvel; that they can seemingly flick their wrists and throw the ball harder than I could overhand is another feat that leaves me speechless. Because the players aren’t zooming around the field like they would be in basketball, hockey, soccer, or football, we don’t necessarily think of baseball as a speed sport, but it is unavoidably so.

On the ‘macro-level’ of speed, there was the pregame ceremony for Jorge Posada. As I watched him receive his plaques and gifts, I couldn’t believe almost four calendar years have passed since Jorge suited up for the Yankees. While his former teammates lined the infield grass, I remembered playing Wiffle Ball with friends in my front yard, imitating the batting stances of the men I was looking at–Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Posada himself… Obviously, many years have passed since then, but the memory didn’t–and still doesn’t–seem all that distant. Like the thrown and batted balls, like the lighting-fast pitches, the memories of players passed reminds us that the game moves quickly no matter how you look at it. We could all do well to slow down and appreciate it, from the tiny bursts of speed on the basepaths, to the (hopefully) magnificent careers blossoming in front of us.

DotF: Aaron Judge’s monster game leads Scranton to a win

Triple-A Scranton (11-5 win over Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 K — threw a runner out at third
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-5, 3 RBI, 1 SB — had been in a 3-for-21 (.143) rut
  • LF Jose Pirela: 0-4, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • DH Gary Sanchez: 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K — 17th homer of the year leaves him one shy of his career high, set back in 2012 … he’s third in the minors in homers among catchers (two others are tied at 19)
  • RF Aaron Judge: 3-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB — monster game … he’s been struggling of late, but this is a nice little reminder of the kind of impact he can have
  • C Austin Romine: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI — had been in a 4-for-30 (.133) slump
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 B, 4 K, 6/3 GB/FB — 60 of 102 pitches were strikes (59%)
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eleven of 19 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • RHP Andrew Bailey: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 18 of 24 pitches were strikes (75%) … have to think he’ll be a September call-up as long as he stays healthy

[Read more…]

Yanks get Severino his first win, beat Indians 6-2 on Jorge Posada Day

Saturday afternoon started with a wonderful ceremony retiring No. 20 in honor of Jorge Posada, and it ended with a much-needed 6-2 win over the Indians . The Yankees scored early and often and coasted to a stress-free win. This was good. Let’s do it again Sunday.


A Good Start
For the third time in three games this series, the Indians scored first. The ultra-impressive Francisco Lindor did the honors with a first inning solo homer. The quick 1-0 deficit was a bit of a bummer but the Yankees answered right back. Jacoby Ellsbury blooped a single to left and Brett Gardner lined a cheap Yankee Stadium home run to right field for a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first. It hit off the top of the wall and hopped over. Total cheapie. Still counts though.

Later in the inning, Brian McCann and his weird new batting stance laid into an 0-1 fastball from Danny Salazar for another homer, this one a solo shot. That gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Then, in the second, back-to-back singles from Stephen Drew and John Ryan Murphy helped set up a two-run rally. Ellsbury hit a weak tapper back to Salazar and while it would have been tough to complete the 1-6-3 double play because of Ellsbury’s speed, the Indians got zero outs because Salazar threw the ball away. Pitchers, man. Throwing to bases is always an adventure.

Drew scored on the error by Salazar and Murphy later scored on Carlos Beltran‘s sac fly. He’d moved up to third on Gardner’s long fly ball. The Yankees really made Salazar work — six of the first nine batters he faced reached base, and he threw 55 pitches in the first two innings. Six hits, a sac fly, and Salazar’s error gave the Yankees five runs in the first two innings. After Lindor’s first inning homer, it was nice to see the offense answer back in a huge way.


Also A Good Start
Lindor’s home run was ominous — to be fair, it was a really impressive piece of hitting, he got on top of a 96 mph 0-2 pitch and drove it out to right — but Luis Severino quickly settled down and gave the Yankees six innings of one-run ball. He did get some help from the umpires and shoddy base-running. Cleveland had runners at the corners with one out in the third when Michael Brantley hit a hard-hit grounder to first. Greg Bird went down to his knees to field the ball, threw to second for the force, but Brantley beat out the return throw to first to keep the inning alive.

Now, a lot happened here. First and foremost, Jason Kipnis did not score from third for some reason. Bird glanced at Kipnis quickly after fielding the grounder, so he did a good job looking the runner back, but Kipnis is supposed to take off for home as soon as the first baseman makes the throw to second. Weird. Also, replays showed Bird’s throw pulled Didi Gregorius off the bag at second base. It wasn’t all that close either:

Didi Gregorius

The neighborhood play can not be challenged but that’s not really the neighborhood play. For starters, the runner wasn’t close to second base. Secondly, the throw pulled Didi off the bag. He wasn’t coming off the bag to avoid the slide. It’s a bit of a gray area. Indians manager Terry Francona argued, the umpires discussed the play, upheld the call, and Francona was ejected because he continued to argue.

That play should have resulted in a run for the Indians and runners on first and second with one out. Instead, no run scored and the Indians had runners on the corners with two outs. Severino struck out the next batter to end the threat. Bad base-running, bad umpiring. The Yankees and Severino benefited from both.

Following Brantley’s fielder’s choice, Severino retired nine of the next ten batters he faced before walking Lonnie Chisenhall and Abe Almonte with two outs in the sixth. He got Roberto Perez to ground out to end the inning, but those two walks killed his pitch count. Severino threw 19 pitches to those last three batters and was ahead in the count 1-2 on both Chisenhall and Almonte. Blah. That’s a 21-year-old pitcher for ya.

Severino threw 107 pitches in six innings and allowed the one run on three hits and four walks. He struck out six. Like his previous start against the Indians, the first few innings of Severino’s afternoon were a little shaky, though he later settled down. He continues to pitch very well though. The next challenge is pitching deeper into games, but that’s a lot to ask for a kid at this stage of his career.


The offense did a whole bunch of nothing after the second inning. Salazar retired nine of the final eleven batters he faced — one of the base-runners was a pop-up Mike Aviles lost in the sun in left field — and it wasn’t until the bottom of the lineup scratched across a run in the ninth that the offense made more noise. Gregorius doubled, Drew singled, and Murphy got the run in with a sac fly. Drew was later thrown out at home on Ellsbury’s single.

Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit. Ellsbury, McCann, Gregorius, and Drew had two hits each. Drew went 2-for-4 and has his average up to .19878. A hit in his next at-bat will get him up to .20122. Didi had two doubles, one sun-aided (Aviles) and one legitimate. The Yankees did not draw a walk for only the sixth time all season. Only the Cubs (four) and Blue Jays (five) have fewer no-walk games.

Adam Warren tossed a perfect seventh inning, Dellin Betances allowed a meaningless run in the eighth, and Andrew Miller closed things out with a scoreless ninth. He pitched around a leadoff single. Betances allowed the run on a BABIP double — Lindor hit a grounder literally off the third base bag — a ground out, and a single. He’ll live.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights for the game, and here are the updated standings and postseason odds for the season. We also have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages to check out. Here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees will look to earn a split of this four-game series Sunday afternoon. Trevor Bauer and CC Sabathia will be the pitching matchup. Also, that pregame ceremony? We’re going to do it all again Sunday. Andy Pettitte will be honored and the No. 46 will be retired. What a fun weekend.

Game 122: Jorge Posada Day

Jorge Posada is not my all-time favorite Yankee but he is definitely in the top three. A switch-hitting catcher with power, patience, and a fiery attitude? How did anyone not like the guy? Posada is one of the four best catchers in franchise history, and, among all catchers in MLB history, he ranks third in walks (936), eighth in homers (275), ninth in OBP (.374), 15th in OPS+ (121), and 17th in WAR (48.4).

I don’t know if Posada will ever get into the Hall of Fame, he’s a borderline candidate, but he is going into Monument Park this afternoon. The Yankees are retiring his uniform No. 20 and will also honor Posada with a plaque. He helped the team to five World Series titles — he was a key contributor to four of them — and holds several franchise records, including games caught (1,518). Simply put, he is one of the best catchers in both Yankees and baseball history.

The Yankees want fans in their seats by noon for the pre-game ceremony, but, knowing how these things go, the ceremony itself probably won’t start until 12:15pm or 12:30pm ET. Will Derek Jeter make his second appearance at Yankee Stadium since retiring? I have to think so. The whole gang will probably be there. The weather’s great and it should be a really fun day.

As for the regularly scheduled afternoon game, here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Brian McCann
  5. 1B Greg Bird
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    RHP Luis Severino

This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. The Posada ceremony will only be on YES, I believe. MLB Network usually doesn’t carry that stuff. For shame. Enjoy the ceremony and the game, folks.

Injury Updates: Michael Pineda (forearm) will rejoin the rotation Wednesday, Joe Girardi announced. Barring something unexpected, the team will do with a six-man rotation. Predictable … Bryan Mitchell (face) has passed all concussion tests and will throw a bullpen session tomorrow. Geez, sounds like he might be back fairly soon, huh?

Roster Moves: The Yankees have called up Branden Pinder and designated Chris Capuano for assignment, the team announced. Pinder was sent down ten days ago, so the Yankees brought him back as soon as possible.

Saturday Links: Postseason Schedule, Tulowitzki, Patches, Prospects, Online Streaming


The Yankees and Indians continue their four-game series later this afternoon. Here are a few links worth checking out while you wait for first pitch.

Postseason schedule announced

MLB announced the 2015 postseason scheduled this week. Unlike the last two years, I can post this information and not feel like I am wasting a bunch of time. The full schedule can be found right here. Here are the dates potentially relevant to the Yankees:

  • Tiebreaker Game: Monday, October 5th (if necessary to determine division winner, second wildcard spot, etc.)
  • AL Wildcard Game: Tuesday, October 6th
  • ALDS: Thursday, October 8th through Wednesday, October 14th (best of five)
  • ALCS: Friday, October 16th through Saturday, October 24th (best of seven)
  • World Series: Tuesday, October 27th through Wednesday, November 4th (best of seven)

As always, the best-of-three LDS round includes off-days between Games Two and Three and between Games Four and Five. The best-of-seven LCS round and World Series have off-days between Games Two and Three and between Games Five and Six. The World Series will bleed into November unless there is a four-game sweep. There hasn’t been a World Series game in November since 2010. The Yankees won the 2009 World Series on November 4th, as you surely remember.

Cashman preferred Tulowitzki to Jeter

Here’s a fun anecdote. According to Sports Illustrated, Brian Cashman told Derek Jeter he would rather have Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop while in contract talks during the 2010-11 offseason. Here’s the full blurb:

“Who would you rather have playing shortstop this year than me?” Jeter asked Cashman.

“Do you really want me to answer that?” Cashman replied. Jeter told him to go ahead, and he listed Tulowitzki, then the Rockies’ shortstop who was in the midst of his first All-Star campaign. “We’re not paying extra money for popularity,” he added, “We’re paying for performance.”

Jeter was 36 at the time and coming off the worst season of his career. He and the Yankees eventually agreed to a new three-year contract with $51M, though reportedly ownership stepped in to wrap things up. SI has a profile of Cashman in this week’s issue that has yet to make its way online.

Hey, as far as I’m concerned, Cashman did nothing wrong. He asked Jeter if wanted an answer, Jeter said yes, and Cashman gave him an honest answer. There needed to be a bad guy in those contract negotiations just to give the Yankees some sort of leverage. They couldn’t go in there kissing Jeter’s behind and willing to pay anything. I would have rather had Tulo instead of Jeter too.

FanGraphs’ midseason prospect update

Over at FanGraphs, Kiley McDaniel posted an updated look at the top prospects in baseball. Dodgers 3B Corey Seager sits in the top spot and is followed by Twins OF Byron Buxton and Phillies SS J.P. Crawford. The Yankee shave three players among McDaniel’s top 26 prospects: RHP Luis Severino (9th), OF Aaron Judge (22nd), and SS Jorge Mateo (25th). I doubt you’ll see Mateo ranked that highly anywhere else this year or heading into next year. McDaniel seems to really believe in him.

Posada & Pettitte Day patches

Later today, the Yankees will honor Jorge Posada by retiring his No. 20. Then tomorrow they’ll do the same for Andy Pettitte and retire No. 46. Both are very deserving in my opinion. It blows my mind anyone would try to argue otherwise. Anyway, in honor of their special days, the Yankees will wear Posada and Pettitte patches on their hats. Here they are:

Jorge Posada Andy Pettitte patch

The Pettitte patch is A+ work. Posada … I’ll give it a C. Good idea, not the best execution. Pettitte’s stare was kinda his trademark and it makes for a good patch. Posada doesn’t have that signature pose or image or whatever. (Maybe it’s this?) Still pretty cool. I’m really looking forward to seeing the ceremonies the next two days.

MLB, MLBPA announce new domestic violence policy

MLB and the MLBPA announced their new domestic violence policy yesterday. The press release is right here (PDF link). It covers domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. In a nutshell, the Commissioner’s Office will investigate, the player will be placed on leave for up to seven days, and commissioner Rob Manfred can impose any discipline he chooses. There is no minimum or maximum suspension, and discipline is not dependent on whether there are charges or a conviction. After the Ray Rice situation and everything else going on in the NFL, MLB and the MLBPA did a good job getting an agreement worked out. Manfred has the ability to be heavy-handed from the start.

Some online streaming to start next season

According to John Ourand and Eric Fisher, MLB and FOX have agreed to a deal making games available for in-market online streaming. There’s a catch: it only covers FOX affiliates. So Yankees fans in New York won’t be able to watch YES online just yet. FOX holds local broadcast rights to 15 teams, so this does cover half the league. That’s a start.

Part of the hold up with other broadcast networks is MLB’s requirement that MLBAM’s operation be in control to ensure the video security and quality, as well as a 4% rights fee. It’ll end up costing regional networks like YES and SNY a couple million bucks to make games available online in-market, say Ourand and Fisher. Hopefully the other networks hammer out a deal soon. It’s 2015. I’d like to be able to watch the Yankees on something other than my TV.

Update: Turns out the Yankees are covered by the FOX streaming deal. How about that? FOX owns a big stake in YES, remember. They bought in a few years ago.