DotF: Severino strong in third start with Triple-A Scranton

Triple-A Scranton (7-2 win over Buffalo)

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 R
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-5, 1 R
  • C Austin Romine: 1-5, 2 K
  • RF Tyler Austin: 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K — 9-for-25 (.360) during his little seven-game hitting streak
  • RHP Luis Severino: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 7/2 GB/FB — 64 of 95 pitches were strikes (67%) … 56/15 K/BB in 55 innings this year
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 15 of 26 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • LHP Matt Tracy: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 13 of 23 pitches were strikes (57%)

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Wednesday Night Open Thread

I know the “This Date in History” video above is not from this date, but I’ve been looking for video of that game for years. Years. That game was totally insane. Look at the WPA graph. (Here’s the box score.) I remember Ben saying the odds were against Johnny Damon going 6-for-6, and I said something like “he doesn’t need to go 6-for-6, he just needs to go 1-for-1″ right before the walk-off hit. It was pretty awesome. What a wacky game.

Here is tonight’s open thread. This afternoon’s loss will be replayed on YES at 7pm ET, if you’re interested for some reason. The Mets are getting no-hit tonight playing tonight and ESPN will show the Red Sox and Orioles as well. Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals will be on too (8pm ET on NBCSN). Talk about those games or anything else right here.

Yankees option Jose Pirela to Triple-A Scranton

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

Following this afternoon’s game, the Yankees optioned Jose Pirela to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. With Pirela going down and Andrew Miller being placed on the 15-day DL, the team has to make two call-ups before Friday’s series opener against the Orioles.

My guess is Ramon Flores will be brought back come Friday. Miller’s injury allows the Yankees to bring him back without waiting the usual ten days. In fact, that was probably the plan on along. They knew Miller was going on the DL, so Flores goes “down” for a game, Pirela plays against the lefty Gio Gonzalez, then Flores comes back Friday. Though I guess there was still a chance Miller could have avoided the DL by time Flores was sent down.

The other roster spot figures to be a pitcher. My guess is Chris Martin, who has been pitching for Triple-A Scranton the last few weeks after coming back from his elbow injury. He was up with the Yankees earlier this season and seems like an obvious candidate. The team has no shortage of candidates though: Jose Ramirez, Danny Burawa, Nick Rumbelow … any of them could all get the call.

Pirela, 25, is 11-for-43 (.256) in limited time this season. Brendan Ryan returned from the 60-day DL on Wednesday and will take over as the backup infielder.

Yankees can’t hold on to a 4-2 lead, lose in extras against the Nationals 5-4

Last weekend I saw my alma mater University of Maryland lose two in a row to University of Virginia in the NCAA Super Regionals – both losses came in heartbreaking bullpen blown saves. All I could really tell myself was “that’s baseball.” The game can make you happy and it can make you incredibly disappointed. A lot of us have learned to deal with it, hopefully.

And that was what I uttered myself in top of 11th when Nationals took a 5-4 lead on Wednesday. Yankees had a 4-2 lead going into the top of the 8th. It seemed like another victory for New York, but alas, things don’t always work out ideally. Washington tied it in that inning, the game went to extras and New York fell on the short side of the stick. The seven-game winning streak has been snapped and the fans can now look forward to the Yankee starting another one. On the plus side, Eovaldi pitched one of the better starts of the season and, well, A-Rod had a hit so that’s eight away from number 3,000.

If I were Nate, I’d make this my Facebook profile picture (Source: Getty)

Not-so-shabby Nate

It’s pretty fun looking at the radar gun reading while Nathan Eovaldi is pitching on a warm day. 96! 97! 98! Velocity isn’t everything in pitching but it certainly helps.

In the third inning, after getting two outs, Eovaldi surrendered two consecutive doubles to allow a run. The second double to Denard Span was annoying – it was down the third base line and just inside the bad, but because Chase Headley was situated a little close to shortstop, the grounder went towards the left field corner and the Nationals took a 1-0 lead.

In the fifth, Danny Espinosa jumped on a first-pitch hanging curveball to drive it out of the park. Boy, that was crushed. Looks like Eovaldi threw it to get ahead of the count and setup other pitches – but it didn’t fool the Nats infielder. 2-0 Nationals.

Besides from that, Eovaldi was pretty solid. He pitched seven innings, allowed eight hits and three earned runs, a walk and struck out four. His ERA shaved down just a bit to 4.13 and FIP is at 4.07 – pretty nice no. 4 starter numbers.

Bottom of seventh, again

As Drake would rap, things went from 0 to 100 real quick this inning. Yankees looked hapless against Gio Gonzalez for the first six innings. In the bottom of sixth, New York had two runners on but failed to score.

In the next inning however, Yankees were luckier. Chris Young led off with single. Gonzalez retired Jose Pirela on a flyout to Bryce Harper. Up came Brendan Ryan. On his third plate appearance of the season, Ryan hit a big fly to center field that just got out of Denard Span’s reach for an RBI triple. 2-1 Yankees. How’s that for a comeback game?

Nationals went to the bullpen and brought up LHP Felipe Rivero. Brett Gardner hit a double just out first baseman’s reach to tie the game at 2-2. Two batters later, with RHP Aaron Barrett on mound, A-Rod hit his 2,992nd career hit for an RBI double to center to give the Yanks lead. Barrett then hit Mark Teixeira and allowed an RBI single to Brian McCann. 4-2 Yankees. New York has been quite deadly with a lead going into the late innings but today’s storyline turned … a bit darker.

Baby’s first blown save

(Source: Getty)

In the eighth inning, Jacob Lindgren came in relief of Eovaldi and faced Harper. That, by the way, was the first time ever Harper faced a pitcher younger than him. Lindgren, who was drafted just last year, was born 8 months after the Nats outfielder. Lindgren won the matchup by getting Harper to fly out to left, so that’s that.

Now, Lindgren is a young guy and he’s gonna see some growing pains being in ML roster- that’s pretty much what happened today. With two outs, a runner on and with a 1-2 count, Lindgren left a fastball up high the zone and Michael Taylor didn’t miss it – he drove it over the right field fence for a two-run homer. 4-4 game.

Giving up the lead and the game

A lot of us collectively held our breath when Chris Capuano came in for relief in the tenth and faced Harper as the first batter. The lefty somehow got Harper out on a grounder to first and two other batters – Ian Desmond and Taylor – grounded out as well. Not bad.

In the 11th, Capuano allowed a single to Tyler Moore to begin the inning. It was not a horribly-placed pitch – a changeup that was veering towards the outside the strike zone. Moore did a good job reaching and lining it to left field. Jose Lobaton hit a sac bunt to advance Moore to second and Espinosa grounded out to Capuano to move the runner to third.

Next batter, Denard Span, is always a threat with bat. He’s got a pretty good contact skills with leadoff hitter speed. With two outs and runner on third, Span hit a breaking ball for a chopper up the middle that Stephen Drew fielded and could not get the runner at first. Moore scored from third. 5-4 Nats. It was a really tough play for Drew to execute and as soon as it bounced over Capuano’s head, I didn’t think Yanks would have a chance to go to the next inning all tied up.

Mustaches aren’t really a thing anymore, Brendan (Source: Getty)


In the bottom 10th, with one out, Didi Gregorius took off from first on a 3-2 count on a hit-and-run move. Carlos Beltran struck out and it seemed like Lobaton threw Didi out at second … but maybe not? Didi signaled the dugout immediately for replay. The broadcast replay (and the broadcasters) made us pretty sure that Didi was safe – it seemed like he got around the initial tag attempt towards his shoulder and his hand got on the bag. But, for whatever reason, the umpires did not change the call. I guess it wasn’t conclusive enough for them to overturn it.

How about Brendan Ryan? Not a lot of people were fans of sending down Ramon Flores for the shortstop but boy, he did what he could do today. He hit the first Yankee hit of the afternoon, he got the offense going in the bottom seventh with an RBI triple and he made some really, really slick plays. Didi’s been showing off defensive prowess lately but Ryan’s glove is still there.

I was going to write a little section about today’s bullpen usage but turns out that Andrew Miller was placed in the disabled list for strained forearm muscle. Ugh. Also, it would have been pretty nice to get Dellin Betances to guarantee a non-loss but then again, he leads the American League in appearances (29) and pitched in three of the past five games. I really don’t want to defend not using him but Capuano was a better-placed chopper in the 11th inning away from getting out of the trouble. Sometimes a skipper’s gotta show faith in other arms in bullpen and that’s what he did – sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

Box score, highlights, standings, WPA

Here’s the box score, video highlights, updated standings and WPA chart.

Source: FanGraphs

Yankees get a day off tomorrow. They will face another team in the mid-Atlantic region – the Baltimore Orioles. On Friday night, Michael Pineda will take a mound in the Camden Yards against Ubaldo Jimenez. Here’s to starting another lengthy winning streak.

Yankees place Andrew Miller on 15-day DL with forearm injury

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

The Yankees have placed Andrew Miller on the 15-day DL with a flexor muscle strain in his forearm, Joe Girardi told reporters after this afternoon’s game. Girardi said Miller has been dealing with the issue on and off but didn’t tell the team until last night. Miller had an MRI today that confirmed the strain. He will be shut down 10-14 days before throwing.

Miller, 30, has never had any serious arm problems in his career. He missed about a week in Spring Training with triceps inflammation back in 2012, but that’s it. Miller has had foot, hamstring, knee, and oblique problems throughout the years. Girardi said the MRI showed Miller’s ulnar collateral ligament was intact, for what it’s worth.

As our Bullpen Workload page shows, Miller threw 21 pitches last Tuesday then another 35 the next day, and they were all pretty high stress too. Perhaps the forearm problem started there. YES showed some replays of Miller shaking out his arm and flexing after throwing pitches during the ninth inning on Tuesday.

With Miller down, Girardi said Dellin Betances will slide into the closer’s role, which presumably pushes Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson into the seventh and eighth innings. The Yankees have Ivan Nova set to join the rotation fairly soon and could bump Adam Warren back to the bullpen, but geez, he’s pitched so well as a starter. Would hate to take him out of the role just as he’s hitting his stride.

The Yankees have an off-day Thursday and will need to call someone up in time for Friday’s game against the Orioles. Chris Martin seems like a logical candidate since he was up with the team earlier this year and is currently in Triple-A, plus the Yankees have been talking about adding a right-hander. Jose Ramirez, Branden Pinder, Danny Burawa … they’re all candidates as well. Either way, losing Miller is a huge blow.

Heyman: Yanks have interest in Ben Zobrist, Dustin Ackley

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

According to noted Arby’s lover Jon Heyman, the Yankees are among the teams with trade interest in Athletics do-everything-guy Ben Zobrist. “There will be many teams interested in Zobrist,” noted one A’s person while speaking to Heyman, and they’re correct. Zobrist’s ability to switch-hit and play almost anywhere makes him a hot rental commodity.

The 34-year-old Zobrist is hitting .207/.295/.359 (85 wRC+) in 105 plate appearances this year around a knee injury. As I noted last month, Zobrist has been trending downward in recent years, especially his power, but he still makes enough contact and draws enough walks to put up a decent AVG and OBP. Plus he’s a switch-hitter who plays strong defense at most positions. The fit for the Yankees is obvious as long as you’re willing to chalk up his 2015 performance to small sample size/injury noise.

Heyman also hears the Yankees maintain interest in Mariners utility man Dustin Ackley despite his dreadful season. He’s hitting a weak .197/.252/.331 (65 wRC+) in 142 plate appearances in 2015 and has been relegated to part-time duty. Ackley has experience at second base, first base, and all over the outfield. He’s still relatively young (27) and isn’t that far away from being a top draft pick (second overall in 2009) and top prospect (No. 11 and 12 on Baseball America’s top 100 lists in 2010 and 2011), so there’s some upside there if you really squint.

The Yankees have expressed interest in Ackley several times in the past, including as far back as the 2013 Winter Meetings. They reportedly tried to acquire Ackley at the trade deadline before acquiring Martin Prado last summer, but declined Seattle’s request of Bryan Mitchell in return. Mitchell’s a good pitching prospect, not a great one, but saying no was smart considering how far Ackley’s stock is fallen. He’s owed $2.6M this year and seems like a candidate to be non-tendered after the season.

Ackley. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
Ackley. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

While both Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew have performed better of late — Gregorius is 11-for-35 (.314) since the start of the West Coast trip and Drew has four homers in his last four games — the Yankees should be on the lookout for middle infield help, especially at second base since Drew is on a one-year contract. Rob Refsnyder as a 117 wRC+ in Triple-A, but, for a bat only prospect, that’s not exactly enough to force the issue. Besides, Zobrist and Ackley are versatile enough to play elsewhere even if Refsnyder comes up. (Also, Ken Rosenthal argued a six-man rotation would be easier if the Yankees had someone that versatile.)

Ackley should come pretty cheap because he’s been terrible this year and has been trending downward in recent years, though figuring out what it would take to get Zobrist is a much more difficult. The Yankees gave up Yangervis Solarte and Rafael DePaula to get Chase Headley — a similar defense-first switch-hitter with an okay bat — as a rental last summer, but my guess is Zobrist will cost quite a bit more because his peak was (and name recognition is) greater than Headley’s. Does giving up, say, Eric Jagielo make sense? It might come late July.

Barring injury, second base is the only position the Yankees can really upgrade at the trade deadline, unless they unexpectedly give up on Gregorius, which I don’t see happening. They’re locked in to players with big multi-year contracts at literally every non-middle infield position. Zobrist is a fit for the Yankees the same way he’s a fit for basically every team. Ackley’s more of a pricey reclamation project, the type a contending team usually doesn’t take on.

Game 59: Take Two


The Yankees and Nationals are going to play their two game-series in the span of 24 hours or so. The Yankees won the opener last night and will try to get a little revenge for getting swept in that two-game series in Washington a few weeks ago. Sweeping a two-game series is always cool.

More importantly, the Yankees have won seven straight games — and 11 of their last 14! — for the first time since September 2012. The last time they won eight straight was June 2012, when they won ten straight. The Yankees are close to firing on all cylinders now that the bottom of the lineup has been something better than awful. Keep it going this afternoon. Here is Washington’s lineup and here is New York’s 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. LF Chris Young
  8. 2B Jose Pirela
  9. SS Brendan Ryan
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It’s a very nice afternoon for baseball here in New York. Sunny, blue skies, and not unbearably humid. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Roster Move: As you can tell by the lineup, Ryan (hamstring, calf) was activated off the 60-day DL today. Ramon Flores was optioned to Triple-A. The Yankees had an open 40-man spot, so no other move was needed to accommodate Ryan.

Injury Updates: Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) ran the bases today and has been hitting off a tee. Running the bases is a pretty significant rehab milestone for a speed guy with a knee injury … Ivan Nova (elbow) threw a bullpen session at Yankee Stadium today and will make another rehab start with Triple-A Scranton on Friday. Sounds like he could be activated after that.