Game Six: All Eyes on Masahiro


So the first five games of the season have been pretty awful for the Yankees. I’m struggling to remember another five-game stretch when they looked this inept in just about all phases of the game. Thankfully, teams are never as bad as they look when they’re playing their worst (they’re also never really as good as they look when they’re playing their best), it just feels that way.

Masahiro Tanaka is making his second start of the season tonight, and yesterday he told reporters he watched some video and fixed some mechanical issues between starts. “I think I was able to make some adjustments after my first start up until today … I needed time to settle down and work on what I had to work on. I think the past four days were good for me,” he said to Josh Thomson.

Pitchers watch video and make adjustments between starts all the time, so this isn’t exactly out of the ordinary. But, because it’s Tanaka, it’s newsworthy. I just want to see him have some more confidence in his fastball tonight and not rely on his offspeed stuff all the time. Shying away from the fastball is no way to go through life. Also, maybe win? Could be cool. Here’s the starting nine:

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

Clay Buchholz will be on the mound for the Red Sox. Here’s their lineup.

It was a gorgeous day in New York today and the weather will be just as nice tonight. Tonight’s game will begin just after 8pm ET and you can watch on ESPN. Over/under on the number of “he should just have the surgery” comments is set at 19.5. Try to enjoy the game.

Roster Move: The Yankees have designated Matt Tracy for assignment and called up Kyle Davies, the team announced. Davies takes Tracy’s place on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters. Davies was scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton tomorrow and should be good for many innings tonight, which I hope isn’t necessary.

DotF: Austin’s big day at the plate leads Scranton to a win

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Syracuse)

  • RF Ramon Flores: 0-4 — threw a runner out at the plate
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 E Fielding) — just a heads up, I accidentally listed him at third base yesterday, but he was at second … just a typo, not a position change, my bad … also, that’s his third error in four games
  • DH Kyle Roller: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • LF Tyler Austin: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI — having a nice little start to the season
  • C Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • RHP Chase Whitley: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1/5 GB/FB — 53 of 84 pitches were strikes (63%) … nice first start of the season
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/3 GB/FB — 30 of 41 pitches were strikes (73%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 14 of 21 pitches were strikes (67%)

Double-A Trenton, Game One (5-3 win over Erie in seven innings) makeup of the Opening Day rainout

  • CF Jake Cave: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB — he’s reached base in eleven of his first 16 plate appearances (.688 OBP)
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-4, 3 K
  • 1B Greg Bird:1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB — has a walk in all three games so far, unsurprisingly
  • DH Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • 3B Eric Jagielo: 0-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • LF Mason Williams: 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI — off to a nice little start to the season
  • SS Cito Culver: 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 K
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 16 of 21 pitches were strikes (76%) … he came over in the Shawn Kelley trade, and there was some talk he needed Tommy John surgery, but he sure he seems healthy to me
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten pitches, seven strikes … he came over in the Chris Stewart trade last year
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K — 16 of 22 pitches were strikes (73%)

Double-A Trenton, Game Two (3-2 loss to Erie in seven innings)

  • LF Jake Cave: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • DH Aaron Judge: 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 HBP — I assume they checked the ball for injury after it hit Judge
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K — make it a walk in all four games, though this one was intentional
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-4, 2 K
  • 3B Dante Bichette Jr. & SS Cito Culver: both 0-3
  • CF Mason Williams: 1-3, 1 E (throwing)
  • LHP Caleb Smith: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HB, 3/3 GB/FB — 50 or 79 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 15 of 20 pitches were strikes

High-A Tampa (4-2 loss to Lakeland)

  • CF Mark Payton: 0-4, 1 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K — nine hits in his last 12 at-bats (.750)
  • 1B Mike Ford: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 2B Angel Gumbs: 0-3, 2 K
  • LHP Derek Callahan: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 40 of 70 pitches were strikes (57%)

Low-A Charleston (4-2 win over Lexington)

  • SS Abi Avelino: 2-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 SB — got picked off first
  • DH Jorge Mateo: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 4 SB — already 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts this year after going 11-for-12 in 15 games last year
  • 2B Gosuke Katoh: 0-2, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 E (fielding)
  • RF Austin Aune: 1-4, 2 K
  • LHP Jordan Montgomery: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 4/3 GB/FB — 59 of 88 pitches were strikes (67%) … he should carve hitters up at this level

Choosing to anticipate good things from Nathan Eovaldi and CC Sabathia

Ed. Note: In addition to Katie and Sunny, we’ve also added Matt Imbrogno to the RAB roster. You know him from IIATMS. He’ll be contributing an article every Sunday. So think of him as a specialist. RAB’s LOOGY.


Just as much as any sport, if not more than any sport, baseball is one of anticipation; the action in the moment may not be constant and is over relatively quickly. In those hanging instants just before and just after contact, infinite possibilities exist. It’s those instants that bring us to the edge of our seats, bring our hands to our faces in excitement. They ready us for the joy or for the agony and they are where the beauty of baseball lies. In games, those instants are obviously short, fractions of a second. Even during the season, the anticipatory moments are relatively quick since teams play just about every day. Those simple facts of the game make the offseason seem even longer, giving us long, cold, miserably snowy months to build anticipation bit by bit. That anticipation is generally focused on new things: the new season, new players, new prospects. Such was the case regarding Nathan Eovaldi’s first start in pinstripes on Friday night.

Eovaldi carried with him from Miami and Los Angeles a reputation for being a bit of a project and that was definitely on display Friday; though he lit up the radar gun, he registered just one strikeout and five swings-and-misses and, as he’s done with some frequency in his career, gave up more hits than innings pitched. The non-fastballs he threw, as advertised, were certainly a work in progress as well. His performance didn’t change the fact that before the game, I was certainly feeling that aforementioned anticipation.

He came into that game as a new thing among new things. While we’d gotten used to his presence during Spring Training, he came to the Bronx as a relative stranger. He’d spent all of his career in the National League, either out on the West Coast with the Dodgers or in the relative obscurity with the Marlins, and did not face the Yankees in any interleague matchup. Aside from that “demographic” newness, Eovaldi’s the type of player you can dream on — a big, seemingly strong guy with a dynamite fastball (even if he does look like Carl Pavano). The anticipation I felt for him on Friday night will continue as the season wears on: Will he harness the breaking stuff? Will he stop giving up such hard contact? Will he put batters away and thus prevent Twitter from making Phil Hughes flashback jokes? Eovaldi has just as many questions around him, even if for different reasons, as does another pitcher whose 2015 debut I was anticipating highly: CC Sabathia.

Of course, the anticipation I felt for Sabathia on Thursday night was completely different than the anticipation I felt for Eovaldi on Friday night. Going into the game, I still felt a familiar optimism that I get when Sabathia pitches. It may not be deserved at this point, but for some reason, I still believe in CC. I liken it to the feeling I get when an even-slightly-diminished Alex Rodriguez comes to the plate: when he’s up there doing his thing, there’s the potential for something special to happen. Maybe this anticipation is a bit of misplaced nostalgia that will come crashing down on me as CC repeats his mostly disastrous last two seasons of pitching. But, on the other hand, however small that hand may be, I’m still anticipating a repeat of 2009-2012.

While we can’t repeat the past with Sabathia and we can’t tell the future with Eovaldi, this is the most anticipatory time in a sport driven by anticipation. I choose to anticipate good things for both Sabathia and Eovaldi.

DotF: Sanchez homers once, Jagielo twice in Trenton’s win

With LHP Matt Tracy getting called up to the big leagues to help the bullpen, there were a bunch of roster shuffling in the minors to get the affiliates the arms they need. RHP Gio Gallegos went from Extended Spring Training to High-A Tampa, LHP Eric Ruth went from Tampa to Double-A Trenton, and LHP Eric Wooten when from Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, replacing Tracy. That all comes from Matt Kardos and Nicholas Flammia.

Triple-A Scranton (4-2 loss to Syracuse)

  • RF Slade Heathcott: 1-5, 2 K — threw a runner out at the plate
  • LF Ramon Flores: 1-4
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 E (fielding) — second error in two games
  • DH Tyler Austin: 0-4, 2 K
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GB/FB — only ten of 21 pitches were strikes (48%) … makes his first career start as the fill-in for Tracy
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 4/0 GB/FB — half of his 26 pitches were strikes
  • RHP Jose Ramirez: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 21 of 38 pitches were strikes (55%), but the walk was intentional

[Read more…]

Saturday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the night. The Extra Package is in a free preview through tomorrow, so find the channels and you can watch any baseball game you want tonight. If prefer to watch this afternoon’s loss instead, YES will replay it at 7:30pm ET. The Islanders, Knicks, and Devils are also playing. Talk about whatever you like right here.

Yankees continue to be bad at everything, lose 8-4 to Red Sox

Source: FanGraphs

Boy it sure is tough to win then you can’t hit, can’t field, can’t run the bases, and can’t pitch, isn’t it? The Yankees dropped their third straight game on Saturday, getting outclassed by the Red Sox in the 8-4 loss. They’re 1-4 to start the season for the second time in three years. Let’s recap:

  • Fire Kevin Long: Up until a pair of singles and a garbage time homer from Chris Young in the eighth inning, the Yankees mustered only one hit and two walks on the afternoon. All in the second inning too. Nineteen consecutive Yankees made outs at one point from the second through eighth inning. Their first run scored on a Didi Gregorius sac fly after Alex Rodriguez singled and Garrett Jones and John Ryan Murphy drew walks. Then the offense disappeared until the game was completely out of reach.
  • Fifth Starter: Nice start for Adam Warren, who allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks in 5.1 innings. His pitch count got inflated early because of some poor defense — A-Rod dropped a throw at first and Brett Gardner got twisted around on a fly ball — but overall he held his own. Two walks and one strikeout is unimpressive, but he got 12 swings and misses and that’s pretty good. Solid start.
  • Blown Open: The Red Sox tacked on some insurance runs with three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. A walk by Justin Wilson and two hits off Chris Martin did the damage in the seventh, then a three-run Brock Holt double off Jones’ glove did the damage in the eighth. The eighth inning rally started with two outs and after an overturned call — Headley’s throw pulled A-Rod off first on what would have been the final out. It spiraled out of control from there for Matt Tracy, who soaked up two innings in his MLB debut.
  • Leftovers: The Yankees committed three errors (A-Rod, Murphy, Headley) to raise their MLB leading total to eight. A team built with no margin for error sure has made lots of ’em … Gregorius made another mental mistake (held the ball instead of throwing home on Holt’s double), which is a drop in the bucket for this game but the continuation of a bad early season trend for Didi … and finally, the Yankees have still only led for one-half inning this season.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees will wrap-up their season-opening homestand Sunday night on ESPN. It’ll be Masahiro Tanaka against Clay Buchholz.

Game Five: The Day After

Last night's game in picture form. (Presswire)
Last night’s game in picture form. (Presswire)

Last night’s 19-inning marathon gave me a hangover. That game was all sorts of awful. If you want to blame the offense, you can do that. If you want to blame the pitching, you can do that too. Defense? Base-running? Blame worthy as well. If you’re the type that needs to assign blame to everything, last night was the perfect game for you. Lots of options.

Anyway, none of that matters now. It’s a new day and a new game and boy would it be nice to see the Yankees pick up a win on Saturday afternoon. Or even just hold a lead. They’ve had the lead for exactly one half-inning out of the 45.5 innings they’ve played in 2015. As best I can tell, no team has had a lead for less time this year. Even the 0-4 White Sox held a lead for one full inning at one point the other day. Here’s the lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Chris Young
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Alex Rodriguezyup
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. RF Garrett Jones
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Gregorio Petit
    RHP Adam Warren

As expected, the Red Sox activated Joe Kelly (biceps) off the DL so he could make this afternoon’s start. He’ll be on a 90-pitch limit. Knuckleballer Steven Wright was send down to make room on the roster. Here is Boston’s lineup.

It’s a nice clear day in New York but windy as hell. Nearly lost my hat when I went out to get breakfast this morning. This afternoon’s game will begin just after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and Fox Sports 1 nationally. Enjoy.

Roster Move: The Yankees have called up lefty Matt Tracy to bolster their worn out bullpen, the team announced. Tracy was scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton today, so he’s good for 80+ pitches if needed. I hope they aren’t. Ivan Nova was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot and Chasen Shreve was optioned to Triple-A to clear a 25-man roster spot. Shreve was awesome last night. Unfair game, this baseball.