DotF: Mateo triples, steals two more bases in Charleston’s win

Triple-A Scranton (5-2 loss to Syracuse)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-4, 2 K, 1 HBP
  • 3B Brendan Ryan: 1-3 — played five innings in the field … it’s not a coincidence he’s playing third base with Chase Headley‘s calf acting up
  • LF Ramon Flores: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — threw a runner out at second
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • 1B Greg Bird: 1-3, 1 B, 1 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB — 20-for-49 (.408) with 16 walks and five strikeouts in his last 15 games
  • C Austin Romine: 0-4, 1 K
  • LHP Jose DePaula: 3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 4/3 GB/FB — 38 of 79 pitches were strikes (48%)
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2/4 GB/FB — 26 of 46 pitches were strikes (57%) … four innings is a new career-high for him
  • RHP Chris Martin: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 20 of 29 pitches were strikes (69%)

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Thursday Night Open Thread

Well, I was planning to use tonight’s open thread to mention Brett Gardner remained in the fourth place in the AL Final Vote voting according to this morning’s update, but he was named to the AL All-Star Team as an injury replacement for Alex Gordon this afternoon. That’s much better. So instead I’ll mention today is the four-year anniversary of Derek Jeter‘s 3,000th hit. That was cool. It’s also the five-year anniversary of the Cliff Lee non-trade. That was less cool.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. MLB Network is showing some regional games tonight, so talk about them, Gardner going to the All-Star Game, Jeter’s 3,000th hit, the Lee non-trade, or anything else right here.

Tanaka throws 7+ strong innings as the Yankees beat the A’s 6-2 and take the series

Back in late May, the Yankees lost three out of four at Oakland against the lowly Athletics. They were shut down by the likes of Sonny Gray and Jesse Chavez and, by the end of the series, their record was hanging just barely over .500 at 26-25. This time around, New York took two out of three at home. Today’s game was particularly satisfying — Masahiro Tanaka pitched like an ace, the lineup was able to solve Jesse Chavez and, of course, the game win meant the series win. Oh, and The Yankees lengthened the AL East lead to three games.

Sensei (Source: Getty)

He’s Back!

In the second inning, it seemed like nothing was going right for Tanaka. With 2-0 count, Josh Reddick got on first base on catcher’s interference. Billy Butler followed it up with a RBI double to left and Ike Davis walked. That just seemed like a familiar storyline with Tanaka’s recent struggles. He did, however, get Brett Lawrie to GIDP to ease the situation to two outs and runner at third. However, Mark Canha took a fastball up in the zone for another RBI double. Womp. 2-1 Athletics.

Well, that turned out to be the only major jam for Tanaka. From the third inning and on, he allowed ZERO hits and only one baserunner, when Billy Butler reached first after the strikeout pitch escaped McCann’s glove in the fourth. That was more dominant than Tanaka has been in his past few starts and hopefully he’s figured something out. Yankees have a need for an upgrade for the rotation and Tanaka stepping up to his ace form would be huge.

When it was all said and done, Tanaka threw 7.2 innings, allowed only two hits, one earned run and struck out six. Another important thing — no homers! Home runs had been killing him a bit this year (1.52 HR/9 prior to this game) and keeping balls in park — especially at the Yankee Stadium — is a pretty good sight.

The bats

Prior to today’s game, Yankees didn’t do well against the journeyman RHP Jesse Chavez — he had held the current Yankee position players to a cumulative .235/.279/.370 line. There was a good news though: Chavez himself had been in a funk. After tossing eight scoreless versus the Yanks in May 31, the righty had been 2-4 with 5.00 ERA in 6 starts.

Chavez didn’t have a horrible outing but it was still not great. The righty tossed 5.0 innings, allowed seven hits, four runs, three walks and struck out three. That’s really mediocre and given on how brilliant Tanaka was, and the bats did a more-than-an-adequate job.

How about Cole Figueroa? He went 2-for-4 in his Yankee debut. It could have been a 3-for-4 performance too — in the second inning, he hit a hard grounder that went right to first baseman Ike Davis to end the frame, but, off the bat, I thought he could have had himself a single. He, however, catalyzed the rally in the fourth with a double to right, setting up a one-out, runners on second and third situation for Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury ended up driving both in with an RBI-single for a 4-2 Yankee lead.

Figueroa contributed to another rally in the eighth, hitting a ground-rule double to set up another situation with runners on second and third. Ellsbury followed it up with what seemed to be an inning-ending ground out … but Marcus Semien threw offline and Ike Davis couldn’t handle it. Both runners scored and Semien was charged with his 28th (!!!) error of the season.

Back to Figueroa — he¬†will probably be sent down as soon as Chase Headley is ready to play again but I would guess he’ll be up again later this season if he keeps up the 130 wRC+ he had down in the minors.

(Source: Getty)

Hey Now, You’re An All Star

It’s been quite a past few days for Brett Gardner. Hot streak? Check. Being talked about as a possible All-Star? Check. Teammates campaigning for him? Check. Making it as an All Star? Check.

In his the first at-bat of the day, Gardner took a Chavez fastball deep to right field to give a 1-0 Yankee lead. That was also his tenth homer of the year — the most in his career prior to the All Star Game. At the age 31 season, Gardner is simply having his best offensive season — .303/.381/.490 line with an isolated power at .188. If you go with isolated power stat alone, he’s having a better power season power season than Adam Jones (.187), Prince Fielder (.178), Justin Upton (.175) and Troy Tulowitzki (.163). How about that?

Well, besides the homer, Gardner added two more hits later in the game for a 3-for-5 performance. To put a cherry on top, he was also announced to be injured Alex Gordon’s replacement for the All Star Game. Well, no more bald caps for other Yankee players I guess. Congrats, Brett!

Box score, standing, highlights, WPA

Here’s today’s box score, updated standing, video highlights and, of course, WPA

Source: FanGraphs

Yankees head to Boston to play their final series before the All-Star break. Enjoy the rest of Thursday! Maybe watch more baseball coming up later if you feel like it because that’s what I’ll probably do.

Gardner headed to All-Star Game as injury replacement for Alex Gordon


Brett Gardner is an All-Star. MLB and the Yankees announced on Thursday that Gardner has been selected to the AL All-Star Team as an injury replacement for Alex Gordon. Gordon suffered a severe groin strain Wednesday night and will miss about eight weeks.

Gardner, 31, came into Thursday’s game hitting .298/.378/.478 (138 wRC+) with nine homers and 15 steals. He hit his tenth homer this afternoon and is now one of only seven players with 10+ homers and 15+ steals so far this season. And, of course, Gardner’s played awesome defense in both center and left fields.

This is the first All-Star selection for Gardner, who was New York’s third round pick in the 2005 draft. He was a walk-on at College of Charleston — Gardner was actually cut from the team at one point but kept showing up to practice — who is now a big league All-Star and will bank $60M+ in a career. Heck of a story.

Gardner had been one of five players on the AL Final Vote ballot along with Mike Moustakas, Yoenis Cespedes, Brian Dozier, and Xander Bogaerts. Royals fans stuffed the ballots for the All-Star Game starting lineups and it would have been damn near impossible for Gardner to beat Moustakas. Don’t have to worry about that now!

Gordon suffered a Grade II groin strain running down a ball in left field Wednesday. He was voted in as a starter in the fan vote, though Gardner won’t start the All-Star Game. Adam Jones will step into Gordon’s spot in the starting lineup since he was next up on the players’ ballot.

Believe it or not, Gardner is only the fifth position player drafted by the Yankees to represent the Yankees at the All-Star Game, joining Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada. For real.

Gardner will join Mark Teixeira and Dellin Betances at the All-Star Game this year, which will be held in Cincinnati next Tuesday. Gardy!

Reports: Yankees remain in the market for rotation help, continue to scout Johnny Cueto

Johnny Cueto

To the surprise of no one, the Yankees remain in the market for rotation help leading up to the trade deadline, reports Jon Heyman. Joel Sherman says they again had a scout at Johnny Cueto’s most recent start earlier this week, when he thew a shutout against the Nationals. The Yanks have been scouting him (and teammate Mike Leake) since at least last month.

Coming into today, New York’s rotation had a 4.30 ERA (3.80 FIP) on the season, which puts them in the lower third of the league. That includes Adam Warren‘s work as a starter (3.59 ERA and 4.12 FIP), and he’s in the bullpen now, so the five starters currently in the rotation have been less effective than that 4.30 ERA indicates. Besides, there’s always room for improvement.

The trade deadline is three weeks and one day away now, and the market is developing really slowly this summer. By this date last year guys like Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, and Brandon McCarthy had all been traded already. (Monday was the one-year anniversary of the McCarthy deal.) Mark Trumbo is the biggest name to have been dealt so far this year. That’ll change soon though.

Only six teams are more than six games out of a postseason spot right now — 12 of the 15 AL teams are within six games of a postseason spot! — so clubs are reluctant to sell. They want to stay in the hunt as long as possible and keep fans interested deep into August and September. Who can blame them? Unfortunately it makes for a dull few weeks leading up to the trade deadline.

The Yankees prefer rentals, and in addition to Cueto and Leake, other rental starters include Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Bartolo Colon, Mat Latos, Ian Kennedy, and Kyle Lohse. Colon and Lohse have been ineffective this year, Kazmir left last night’s start with a triceps injury, and Kennedy has somehow allowed 18 home runs in 80 innings while playing in spacious Petco Park and various other pitcher friendly NL West parks. Cueto’s the cream of the crop, clearly.

CC Sabathia had his knee drained a few days ago for the second time this season and other starters like Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) and Michael Pineda (shoulder) carry perpetual injury concerns. Ivan Nova is just coming from Tommy John surgery too. Nathan Eovaldi‘s the only starter without some kind of known physical concern. So exploring the market for rotation help is a no-brainer move for the Yankees. The AL East is so very winnable and you don’t have to try to hard to envision a scenario where rotation help is needed down the stretch.

(GIF via

Game 85: Last Home Game Before The All-Star Break


It’s the last home game of the first half. The Yankees are 24-16 with a +34 run differential at Yankee Stadium this season and only 21-23 with a -16 run differential on the road. The offense hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders the last few games, but the Yankees are clearly a much better team in their home ballpark this season. That short porch sure is friendly.

Masahiro Tanaka is making his last start before the All-Star break today and it has been an uneven first half for him. There were times he looked absolutely dominant, times he got smacked around, and off course the month long DL stint. Tanaka’s second half is going to have to be better than his first half for the Yankees to stay in the postseason hunt, I reckon. Hopefully he can finish the first half on a high note today. Here’s the A’s lineup and here’s the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Garrett Jones
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. RF Chris Young
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. 3B Cole Figueroa
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Not the greatest weather day for baseball. It was raining this morning and it’s supposed to rain again this afternoon, but not for another few hours. Shouldn’t be a problem unless the game goes into extra innings or something. This afternoon’s game will begin just after 1pm ET and you can watch live on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy!

Injury Updates: Chase Headley (calf) had an MRI last night and it showed inflammation close to his knee. He feels much better but remains day-to-day … Brendan Ryan (back) will start a minor league rehab assignment today. It was supposed to start Friday but has been pushed up, I guess because the Yankees want to get Ryan back as soon as possible in case Headley’s injury lingers … If you missed it last night, CC Sabathia had his knee drained before the start of the homestand. Second time he’s had it drained since Spring Training.

Roster Move: So, based on the lineup, Figueroa is with the team now. Jose Pirela was sent down and Taylor Dugas was designated for assignment in corresponding moves, the Yankees announced. Figueroa, a left-handed batter, is having a great season with Triple-A Scranton (.317/.372/.415 and 130 wRC+ with 5.0 K% and 7.5 BB%) and he can play all over the infield. Makes more sense for the roster than Pirela with Headley banged up.

Poll: Luis Severino and the rest of 2015

Changeup! (Luis Severino)
Changeup! (Luis Severino)

Earlier this week, both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America ranked right-hander Luis Severino as one of the 50 best prospects in baseball. Higher than that, actually. BP had him 28th and BA had him 17th. That’s really good! Lots of people like Severino and what’s not to like? He’s still only 21 and he has a 2.59 ERA (2.62 FIP) in 83.1 innings split between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton this year.

The Yankees have moved Severino through the system very aggressively — he hasn’t thrown more than 85.1 innings at any level ever — and he’s answered the bell at every stop. No hiccups whatsoever. Severino threw 113 innings last season and is probably scheduled for 150-ish this year, so he’s only got 66.2 innings or so left to throw this summer. Given his success at Triple-A, the Yankees have plenty of options when deciding how best to use Severino’s remaining innings in the second half. Let’s run ’em down.

Option No. 1: Let Him Finish In Triple-A

This is the conservative approach. The Yankees have moved Severino up the ladder very aggressive and could opt to let him catch his breath at Triple-A, which would hardly stunt his development. Severino is six (six!) years younger than the average International League player, after all. He’s already thrown 45.1 innings for the RailRiders, so he’d finish the season with 100 or so innings at the level and get a chance to see other teams multiple times. That gives him a chance to see how hitters adjust to him, and learn how to adjust back.

Option No. 2: Call Him Up As A Starter

This is the aggressive approach. There might not be an obvious opening in the rotation now, but you know as well I that the Yankees are going to need another starter at some point this year. Someone’s going to get hurt, someone will pitch their way out of the rotation, something will happen and they’ll need another starter. It’s inevitable. Severino has succeeded at every level and the Yankees could continue to be aggressive by calling him up and giving him a rotation spot right smack in the middle of a postseason race. Throw him to the wolves, basically.

Option No. 3: Call Him Up As A Reliever

This is neither conservative nor aggressive. It just … is. Even if the Yankees are comfortable letting Severino throw 170 innings this year — unlikely, but let’s roll with it — that’s still probably not enough innings to get through the second half as a starter. At least not without some 2009 Joba Chamberlain-esque workload manipulation. Remember that, when they’d limit Joba to 35-50 pitches per start? What a mess. The Yankees could instead let Severino spend another few weeks in Triple-A, then, as he approaches his innings limit (whatever that number is), call him up and let him throw his last 20-30 innings of the season out the bullpen. Then Severino can go right back to starting next year.

Option No. 4: Trade Him!

Prospects aren’t just for filling out your own roster. They’re there to be traded as well. It only makes sense given the attrition rates, even with high-end prospects like Severino. Jon Shepherd’s research a few years ago showed that even top 20 pitching prospects like Severino bust 60% of the time, so of course there’s an argument to be made that the best way to get value from the young righty is by trading him for a proven big leaguer. And remember, Severino’s biggest drawback right now is his delivery, specifically how little he uses his lower half, something that will ostensibly lead to future arm injuries. Unless you do something stupid like trade them for a utility infielder or Victor Zambrano, I don’t think it’s ever indefensible to trade a top pitching prospect for big league help, especially in a playoff race. The bust rates are so high because pitchers break.

* * *

That about covers the team’s options with Severino. The Yankees could keep him right where he is the rest of the season, call him up to start or relieve, or trade him away. All four options are justifiable and I honestly don’t think there’s a right answer. So let’s break out the poll. This is asking what you think the Yankees should do with Severino the rest of the season, not what you expect them to do. Bit of a difference there.

What should the Yankees do with Severino this year?