(Rob Carr/Getty)

(Rob Carr/Getty)

For all intents and purposes, this three-game series against the Orioles in Camden Yards will determine whether the Yankees have a realistic chance of winning the AL East this season, or if they’ll have to focus solely on the wildcard. The O’s have won two of three in each of the first three series these two teams have played this year.

What Have They Done Lately?
The Orioles outscored the Cardinals 25-13 this weekend but “only” won two of three. They’ve won six of their last eight games and are 15-8 since the All-Star break. Baltimore is 67-50 with a +48 run differential, giving them the biggest division lead in baseball at five games. The Yankees are six games back.

At 4.29 runs per game with a team 105 wRC+, the Orioles are only a slightly above-average offense despite leading baseball with 147 homeruns. They don’t get enough guys on base in front of the power hitters. Baltimore is without C Matt Wieters (131 wRC+), who is done for the year following Tommy John surgery. SS J.J. Hardy (94 wRC+) is currently day-to-day with a thumb sprain and may or may not be available this series.

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Jones. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Manager Buck Showalter’s lineup is built around the 30-homer power of OF Adam Jones (117 wRC+) and OF Nelson Cruz (129 wRC+). Cruz already has 30 homers and Jones will get there before season’s end. (He’s at 22.) 1B Chris Davis (90 wRC+) is having a relatively awful year, but OF Steve Pearce (139 wRC+) has picked up some of the slack. Steve Pearce, huh? Both OF Nick Markakis (114 wRC+) and 3B Manny Machado (107 wRC+) have been productive on both sides of the ball.

C Caleb Joseph (95 wRC+) recently went deep in five consecutive games. Corban’s brother splits catching duties with C Nick Hundley (68 wRC+) in the wake of Wieters’ injury. DH Delmon Young (129 wRC+ in limited time), OF David Lough (71 wRC+ in limited time), IF Jonathan Schoop (59 wRC+), and UTIL Ryan Flaherty (62 wRC+) fill out the rest of the bench. Flaherty has been filling in at short while Hardy’s been banged up.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: LHP Chris Capuano (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Bud Norris (vs. NYY)
The 29-year-old Norris has arguably been his team’s most consistent starting pitcher, with a 3.68 ERA (4.36 FIP) in 19 starts and 115 innings. His peripherals don’t jump out at you — 6.73 K/9 (17.9 K%), 2.90 BB/9 (7.7 BB%), 1.02 HR/9 (10.4 HR/FB%), and 42.3% grounders — but he has essentially zero platoon split and simply keeps runs off the board. After years of underperforming his peripherals, he’s now doing the opposite. Maybe it’s dumb luck. Norris is basically a two-pitch pitcher with two other pitches. He relies heavily on his low-90s four-seamer and mid-80s slider, throwing them roughly 80% of the time combined, but he’ll also throw a handful of mid-80s changeups and low-90s two-seamers per start. He held the Yankees to one run in five innings back in June.

Tuesday: RHP Shane Greene (vs. BAL) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (vs. NYY)
Chen, 29, has a 3.90 ERA (4.16 FIP) in 22 starts and 129.1 innings this year, his third straight year pitching at almost exactly the same level. The only thing he does exceedingly well is limit walks (1.60 BB/9 and 4.2 BB%). His strikeout (6.68 K/9 and 17.7 K%), homer (1.32 HR/9 and 12.8 HR/FB%), and grounder (40.9%) numbers aren’t special at all. Like Norris, he also has what amounts to no platoon split whatsoever. Chen has the standard issue four-pitch mix, so a low-90s fastball, mid-80s changeup, low-80s slider, and low-70s curveball. The changeup is his go-to offspeed pitch. The Yankees scored four runs in five innings when they faced the Taiwanese southpaw back in April.

It’s worth noting the Orioles will be the first team to see Greene a second time as a starting pitcher, which is always a big test. That mid-90s sinker and hard upper-80s slider won’t sneak up on them this time.

(Greg Fiume/Getty)

(Greg Fiume/Getty)

Wednesday: RHP Esmil Rogers (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (vs. NYY)
Tillman started Opening Day for the Orioles but he’s been unable to build on last year’s success, instead posting to a solid 3.73 ERA (4.22 FIP) in 149.2 innings across 25 starts. His strikeout rate (6.13 K/9 and 15.9 K%) is his lowest since breaking into the league full time three years ago while his walk rate (3.19 BB/9 and 8.3 BB%) is its highest. Tillman has done a much better job of keeping the ball in the park this season (0.90 HR/9 and 8.2 HR/FB%) even though his ground ball rate (41.1%) continues to be no better than okay. Again, like Norris and Chen, he has zero platoon split, but he has pitched quite a bit better at home (.281 wOBA) than on the road (.332 wOBA) in 2014. Low-90s four-seamers and cutters set up Tillman’s mid-80s slider, low-80s changeup, and big-breaking mid-70s curveball. He’s lost about one mile an hour off his fastball for the second straight year. The Yankees have seen Tillman twice this year: seven shutout innings in June and three runs in 6.2 innings in July.

Rogers is still listed as the starter for the series finale though there are rumblings Michael Pineda may rejoin the rotation that day. He got up 72 pitches in his second rehab start this weekend, meaning he should be good for 85-90 pitches next time out. “That’s something we’ll have to talk about,” said Joe Girardi to Brian Heyman over the weekend. “Ideally you’d like to get someone to 90 pitches … We’ll sit down, Brian (Cashman) and the people who saw it, and decide what’s next for him.”

Bullpen Status
The Cardinals did the Yankees a favor by both forcing Kevin Gausman out of yesterday’s game early and keeping the score close enough that Showalter used his key relievers. Both closer RHP Zach Britton (3.15 FIP) and setup man/deadline pickup LHP Andrew Miller (1.73 FIP) not only pitched, but they also allowed runs and threw longer than usual innings. LHP T.J. McFarland (3.58 FIP) threw 51 pitches across two innings of work as well.

The rest of Showalter’s bullpen includes RHP Brad Brach (3.59 FIP), RHP Tommy Hunter (3.44 FIP), LHP Brian Matusz (4.30 FIP), and RHP Darren O’Day (2.88 FIP). Matusz is a pure lefty specialist while McFarland is a multi-inning lefty and Miller is a one-inning high-leverage guy who will face both lefties and righties. The eight-man Yankees bullpen is in relatively good shape. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for details and then check out Camden Chat for the latest on the Orioles.

Categories : Series Preview
Comments (47)

Record Last Week: 4-3 (22 RS, 19 RA)
Season Record: 61-56 (468 RS, 493 RA, 55-62 pythag. record) 6.0 GB in ALE, 2.5 GB of WC
Opponents This Week: @ Orioles (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, @ 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 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?

Categories : Polls
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Some notes:

  • C John Ryan Murphy was placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL, according to Donnie Collins. Collins notes Murphy left last night’s game an inning after taking a foul pitch to the face mask, though it’s unclear if that’s why he was put on the DL. With Murphy out and Brian McCann landing on the 7-day concussion disabled list, the Yankees are suddenly a bit thin behind the plate.
  • RHP Luis Severino was placed on the Double-A Trenton DL with an oblique strain, the team announced. He’s been out for roughly two weeks now and they needed a roster spot. VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman called it a “very slight” strain but I wouldn’t be surprised if Severino is done for the year. Trenton’s season ends in three weeks and Newman always downplays injuries.
  • LHP Caleb Smith has been promoted from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton, according to Nicholas Flammia. I assume he’s replacing Severino. Smith started for Tampa yesterday, faced one batter, gave up a hit, and was pulled. That was weird, but I guess the promotion kinda explains hit.
  • The Yankees have re-signed IF Scott Sizemore to a minor league contract, says Bryan Hoch. They released him last month. He’s been out with some kind of injury for a few weeks now and has been placed on Scranton’s DL.
  • C Luis Torrens, 1B Connor Spencer, IF Ty McFarland, and DH Isaias Tejeda have all been selected for the Short Season NY-Penn League All-Star Game. The game is in Brooklyn next Tuesday (Aug. 19th), if you’re interested in attending.

Triple-A Scranton (5-1 win over Columbus)

  • SS Jose Pirela: 0-3, 1 BB
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • LF Zoilo Almonte: 0-4
  • DH Kyle Roller: 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — 23rd homer of the year leads the system now that Peter O’Brien has been traded away
  • LHP Nik Turley: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HB, 9/1 GB/FB — 51 of 85 pitches were strikes (60%) … 35/31 K/BB in 45 innings after missing the start of the year with an unknown arm injury
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1/3 GB/FB — only 12 of 26 pitches were strikes (46%) … 68/16 K/BB in 47.1 innings
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten pitches, six strikes … 86/19 K/BB in 60.1 innings

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
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Here is your open thread for the rest of the night. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is the Braves and Nationals (Wood vs. Gonzalez), so talk about that game, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else on your mind right here.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (120)

Source: FanGraphs

Well that was one giant letdown of a weekend. The Yankees started their seven-game homestand with four wins in five games before falling flat these last two days and finishing it at 4-3. Blah. Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Indians came by the score of 4-1. Let’s recap:

  • August Wall: Hiroki Kuroda appears to be hitting his annual August wall a week or two early. He ran out of gas after 80-ish pitches for the second straight start, but he was left in to throw 97 pitches and that was long enough to load the bases and walk in a run in the fifth inning. The Indians scored their first run on two bloops and a ground ball single, and their second on a double and a sac fly (with a bunt mixed in), but Kuroda wasn’t fooling anyone all afternoon. Two runs on five hits and four walks in 4.2 innings is pretty gross. Joe Girardi has to start treating him as an 80-pitch pitcher going forward. If that means only four or five innings, so be it. Might as well put that eight-man bullpen to use.
  • LMAOffense: Three singles, no walks, a double that was nothing more than a single that took a weird carom off the sidewall and away from the outfielder, and a garbage time (two outs in the ninth!) solo homer. That was the Yankees’ offense for the afternoon. They had two runners reach second base (none reach third base) before Jacoby Ellsbury‘s homer, and at one point they made 15 straight outs. The Yankees went 19 innings without a run before the homer. The at-bats were barely competitive on Sunday. Take a pitch or two, roll over and ground out or pop-up weakly. The offense really small-timed it this weekend.
  • Leftovers: Congrats to Bryan Mitchell for making his MLB debut. He struck out two in two scoreless innings to wrap up the afternoon … David Huff and Shawn Kelley combined to allow Cleveland’s fourth run on an infield single, a bunt, and a two-strike, two-out single … Ellsbury (single, stolen base, homer), Mark Teixeira (single), Stephen Drew (single), and Ichiro Suzuki (double) were the only offense … the Yankees were one out away from being shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since May of 1999 against the Chuck Finley-led Angels.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some nerdier stats, and ESPN the updated standings. At this very moment, the Yankees are 6.5 games back in the AL East and two games back of the second wildcard spot, pending the results of the day’s other games. Bud Norris and Chris Capuano will be the pitching matchup in Monday night’s series opener against the Orioles. Needless to say, that’s a huge series.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (88)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

This afternoon’s series finale against the Indians is the difference between a 5-2 homestand and a 4-3 homestand. The former sure looks a whole lot better than the latter, doesn’t it? After getting Klubered yesterday, hopefully the Yankees will come out and wrap this homestand up with a win before going to Baltimore for an incredibly important three-game series. Here is the Indians lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. DH Carlos Beltran
  6. 2B Stephen Drew
  7. 3B Martin Prado
  8. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  9. C Frankie Cervelli
    RHP Hiroki Kuroda

It’s another gorgeous day for baseball in New York. Nice and sunny, no clouds, no rain in the forecast, just a perfect afternoon to be at the ballpark. This afternoon’s game will begin a bit after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (293)

RAB Shop

You buy your share of Yankees gear throughout the year, right? I’m guessing that most of you reading this don’t go to Modell’s or Dick’s or Sports Authority. There are so many places to buy online that it rarely makes sense to trek all the way to the store to make a purchase. With good prices and fast shipping, shopping online makes far more sense.

RAB is getting in on that action. We’ve set up relationship with three major MLB gear outlets. So when you buy your gear, you can help support the site.

You can check out what we currently have going at the RAB Shop. It’s limited right now, since I just started loading in products. Before long it will allow you to sort by what you’re looking for: Jerseys (home, road, replica, authentic), t-shirts, caps, and other gear.

Here’s the deal for the moment. If you plan to buy some Yankees gear and want to help support the site, drop me a line, joe at riveraveblues dot com. Let me know what you plan to buy, and I’ll create an affiliate link for it and add it to the Shop. I’ll also email you back the URL. You don’t have to go through this trouble, of course, but we appreciate any effort.

Alternatively, you can just click on these links to make any purchases at the following stores:

MLB Shop

Thank you again for all of your support.

Comments (20)
  • King: Yankees place Ichiro, Brendan Ryan on trade waivers

    Via George King: The Yankees have placed Ichiro Suzuki and Brendan Ryan on trade waivers. The report is from Thursday, so both waiver periods likely expired already. Brett Gardner, Stephen Drew, and Martin Prado have already cleared trade waivers. As a reminder, trade waivers are completely revocable and the players can be pulled back if claimed. Friday’s mailbag had a trade waiver primer.

    Teams put just about all of their players on trade waivers in August and it does not necessarily mean they are trying to trade them. Ichiro has value as a fourth outfielder and I don’t see him going anywhere at all, though I wonder if the Yankees would look to unload Ryan and the two years left on his contract (well, one year plus a player option) like they did Matt Thornton last week. Middle infielders are hard to find though, especially good fielding ones, so probably not.
    · (85) ·

Here is your open thread for the rest of the night. The Mets are playing, MLB Network will air a game, the Little League World Series is on, and the (football) Giants are playing a preseason game. Lots to watch tonight. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else right here.

Minor League Update: I won’t be around to put together a full minor league recap tonight, so here’s the live-updated recap from MLB Farm. You can see the full box scores for all of the affiliates in one place right there.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (275)

Source: FanGraphs

Some days you’re just going to get beat, and that’s what happened Saturday afternoon. The Yankees lost 3-0 to the Indians in a game in which they were out-pitched and out-hit, though I wouldn’t say they were out-defended. It happens. That’s baseball. Let’s recap:

  • Klubot: The Yankees hit three balls out of the infield — two of the four hits he allowed were infield singles — and only hit one ball hard during Corey Kluber’s six shutout innings. That one hard-hit ball was Jacoby Ellsbury‘s double to left in the fourth. That’s it. The team’s best chance to score came in the sixth, when Derek Jeter and Ellsbury singled with no outs, but Kluber rebounded to strike out Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley, and Stephen Drew. He flat out dominated them. Ten strikeouts, one walk, one double, three soft singles. This is one of those days when I’m perfectly fine tipping my cap. Kluber’s a top 10-15 pitcher in MLB and he showed why on Saturday.
  • De Facto Ace: Brandon McCarthy‘s only real mistake was leaving a first pitch fastball up in the zone to rookie infielder Jose Ramirez, who hit a cheap Yankee Stadium two-run homer in the second inning. It was his first career long ball and it just barely cleared the wall. Other than the homer, McCarthy held the Indians to six singles and no walks while striking out eight in 6.1 innings. The homer stunk, but McCarthy once again gave the Yankees a good and winnable start.
  • Bullpen: Rich Hill and Chase Whitley combined to pitch out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh — Headley made a nice play to get the force out at home — before Whitley allowed a solo homer to Michael Brantley in the eighth. That gave the offense six outs to score at least three runs against Cleveland hurlers. Even though Kluber pitched well, they did a nice job of running up his pitch count. Brett Gardner (double) and Ellsbury (fake hit-by-pitch) reached base to give Beltran and Headley a chance to tie the game in the eighth, but they struck out. The Yankees went down in order in the ninth.
  • Leftovers: Jeter’s sixth inning infield single was his 3,431st career hit, moving him ahead of Honus Wagner for sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list. He won’t catch Tris Speaker (3,514), but sixth all-time is pretty awesome … rough third inning for the battery. McCarthy was hit by a line drive in the foot and Frankie Cervelli took a pitch to the ribs. Both stayed in the game … Gardner, Jeter, and Ellsbury went 4-for-11 (.364) while the rest of the lineup went 1-for-21 (.048) … the Yankees went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts with runners in scoring position … they set a season-high with 15 strikeouts after coming into the game with the fourth lowest strikeout rate in MLB (18.2%) … the Yankees were shut out for only the fourth time this year and the first time since June 22nd, 41 games ago.

Head over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Blue Jays won this afternoon while the Royals, Orioles, and Mariners all play later tonight, so as of right now the Yankees are 5.5 games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot. Hiroki Kuroda and Carlos Carrasco will be the pitching matchup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch the final game of the homestand live.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (75)
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