Yankees drop third straight, offense no-shows in 2-1 loss to Angels


Source: FanGraphs

The scoring struggles continue. The Yankees lost Tuesday night’s game to Angels 2-1 and they’ve now scored 15 runs in six games on the road trip. Nine of those runs came on Saturday. Close losses stink. Failing the capitalize on the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rays going a combined 0-7 the last three days stinks even more. West Coast night games get bullet point recaps, so let’s get to it:

  • Bend, Eventually Break: We can break Ivan Nova‘s start into three parts. First, he wiggled in and out trouble in the first two innings (four hits and a walk). Next, he cruised from innings three through five (one single, one walk). Last, he got rocked in the sixth inning, allowing back-to-back homers (Albert Pujols, Erick Aybar) and a double to end his night. The end result was two runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.1 innings. He struck out seven. Nova looks exactly like a guy coming back from Tommy John surgery. Stuff is fine, command is spotty.
  • Two Hits: The Yankees were two-hit for the second time on the road trip. Heck, for the second time in the span of three games. Mark Teixeira hit a long solo home run in the second and Brett Gardner slapped a single up the middle later in the game. Teixeira and Chase Headley drew walks. There’s yer offense. The Yankees have scored no more than one run in each of their last three games. Last time they did that was July 2013. Last time before that was April 2005. Last time they scored one run or fewer in four straight games? August 1990.
  • Leftovers: Not a starter Adam Warren made his first appearance as a not a starter, allowing a hit and a walk in 2.2 scoreless innings. He struck out a pair and generally looked awesome … Carlos Beltran left the game with ribcage injury and may be headed to the DL … the bottom five spots in the lineup went a combined 0-for-14 and hit one ball out of the infield. The one was Brian McCann‘s fly out in the second, the first of those 14.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Angels finish off this three-game series Thursday Wednesday evening — that’s a 7pm ET start. Afternoon game in California, night game in New York. Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Shoemaker will be the pitching matchup.

Update: Carlos Beltran exits game with ribcage injury

12:52am: Beltran left the game with a ribcage injury, Joe Girardi told reporters after the game. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow and there’s a chance he’ll have to be placed on the DL.

11:35pm: Carlos Beltran exited tonight’s game with some kind of injury. He hurt himself during an at-bat in the fifth inning — Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue came out to check on him — but stayed in to finish the at-bat before being removed between innings. It appeared Beltran pointed to his oblique, but I could be wrong.

Beltran, 38, came into Tuesday’s game hitting .263/.312/.433 (103 wRC+) overall, though he’s been much better of late, with a .302/.349/.500 (135 wRC+) batting line since May 1st. The Yankees are already without Jacoby Ellsbury (knee), Slade Heathcott (quad), and Mason Williams (shoulder), so they really can’t afford to lose another outfielder. Ramon Flores is the obvious call-up candidate if Beltran misses time.

The Yankees haven’t announced anything about Beltran’s injury yet, so stayed tuned for updates.

DotF: Aaron Judge and Austin Aune have huge games

Bad news: Matt Kardos says 3B Eric Jagielo has “loose bodies” in his knee. He hurt himself sliding into home plate a week or two ago. Jagielo will undergo more tests before deciding whether to have surgery or go the rehab route. Either way, it’s safe to assume he’ll be out for a while. Sucks.

Triple-A Scranton (12-8 loss to Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Aaron Judge: 4-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 BB — big day at the plate and he also threw a runner out at third … also, that’s his first pro game in center field, the position he played in college
  • RF Ramon Flores: 1-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
  • DH Austin Romine: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K — having a really great year, might be enough to earn himself a spot on the 40-man roster come September so the Yankees don’t lose him for nothing as a minor league free agent after the season
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 33 of 59 pitches were strikes (56%)
  • RHP Chris Martin: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 23 of 49 pitches were strikes (47%) … not gonna earn a trip back to New York that way, Chris
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 19 of 28 pitches were strikes (68%)

[Read more…]

Game 79: Runs Required

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees are five games into this seven-game road trip and so far they’ve scored 14 total runs. Nine of the 14 came in one game. Six of the nine came in an inning and a third against Brett Oberholtzer. So when facing non-Oberholtzer pitchers, the Yankees have scored eight runs in 42.1 innings on the trip. That’s bad! If the offense was a pitcher it would be a Cy Young favorite.

Tonight the offense gets a crack at rookie left-hander Andrew Heaney, who was traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers to the Angels in the span of about five hours this offseason. Rookie starters have a 4.95 ERA against the Yankees this season, so that’s encouraging. It doesn’t mean they’ll hit Heaney, but it’s better than hearing rookie pitchers have a 1.95 ERA against the Yankees this season, I guess. Here is the Angels’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

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

Believe it or not, it was raining in Anaheim earlier today, but the storms have cleared out and the sky is supposed to be clear for the game tonight. First pitch is scheduled for just after 10pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy, yo.

Injury Updates: Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) was scratched with “general fatigue” in his legs, Joe Girardi told reporters. He was scheduled to play center field in his second rehab game with High-A Tampa. Girardi is hopeful Ellsbury will play tomorrow.

Rotation Update: As expected, Adam Warren has been moved to the bullpen, Girardi confirmed. “It’s a tough decision because he’s pitched so well but it’s what we need to do,” said the skipper. This is both dumb and totally expected.

Tuesday Night Open Thread

Finally, the last 10pm ET start time of the season. That makes it sound like we’ve had through sit through a ton of ’em when it’s really only been six or seven, but still, I’m getting old and staying up late to watch baseball isn’t as easy as it once was. Anyway, the Yankees and Angels continue their series out in Anaheim later tonight, so we’ve have a regular game thread along shortly.

For now, here’s the open thread for the night. The Mets and Cubs will be on ESPN, and that’s it for nationally televised games. You folks know what to do with these threads by now, so have at it.

2015 Draft: Yankees sign 20th round pick 1B Isiah Gilliam to overslot bonus

(Gwinnett Prep Sports)
(Gwinnett Prep Sports)

The Yankees have signed first baseman and 20th round draft pick Isiah Gilliam, according to his Twitter feed. Jim Callis confirmed the signing and says Gilliam received a way overslot $550,000 bonus. Slot money for all picks after the tenth round is $100,000, and the excess is applied to the draft pool, so Gilliam counts as $450,000 against New York’s bonus pool.

Gilliam, 18, has a bit of an interesting backstory. He changed high schools three times and used up his four years of athletic eligibility by age 17, so he was a late addition to the 2014 draft player pool. Gilliam was strongly committed to JuCo powerhouse Chipola College and declined to sign with the Cubs as their 23rd round pick last summer. He hit .362/.421/.548 with 20 doubles and five homers in 52 games at Chipola this spring.

As the bonus suggests, Gilliam is no ordinary 20th round pick. Baseball America ranked him as the 151st best prospect in the draft class while Kiley McDaniel had him 120th. That puts him in the fourth or fifth round range on talent. (The $550,000 bonus is late-third/early-fourth round money.) Here’s a snippet of Baseball America’s scouting report:

He has above-average bat speed with an easy stroke and plus raw power to all fields. He puts on an impressive display in batting practice and has made solid contact in games. His approach has a ways to come … A below-average runner, he played third base until this season before moving to first, where he likely fits best in the long term. He moves well for the position and runs enough to try the corner outfield and has average arm strength.

Gilliam is a switch-hitter and Eric Longenhagen said he once saw him hit a ball over the Western Metal Supply building at Petco Park, which is a bomb. The Yankees announced Gilliam as a first baseman at the draft and that’s where he’ll likely remain long-term, though he did play some right field this spring. Either way, his bat is his calling card. Gilliam has legitimate pop from both sides of the plate. Here’s some video.

As our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker shows, the Yankees now have only $193,900 in bonus pool savings left over, and there aren’t many places to spend it. They’ve signed 31 of their 41 draft picks and only Idaho HS 1B Michael Hicks (27th round), New Jersey HS LHP Andrew Miller (34th), and Florida HS SS Deacon Liput (39th) remain as potential late-round overslot players, and the extra $193,900 might not be enough to convince those guys to turn pro. The extra money might get funneled to UCLA RHP James Kaprielian (1st) simply because there’s nowhere else to spend it.

Yankees should give Bryan Mitchell an extended chance to fill righty relief void

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

So far this month a total of 23 different pitchers have appeared in a game for the Yankees. Twenty-three! That’s a franchise record for a single month. Seventeen of those 23 are relievers. The bullpen revolving door, which has been necessitated by some short outings from the starters, has featured eleven different relievers in the last three weeks alone. It’s been quite a pain keeping our Depth Chart page up to date this month.

Anyway, the Yankees have needed to make all these roster moves because the bullpen is getting worn out and they’ve needed fresh arms. Only ten times in the last 18 games has the starter recorded more than 15 outs, and on five occasions the starter failed to complete five full innings. Nathan Eovaldi‘s disaster start in Miami and recent hiccups by Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda have taxed the relief crew.

“We kind of rotate people in and out here a lot, and it doesn’t mean we don’t believe in them, we’re doing it to kind of protect the arms of everyone,” said Joe Girardi to Dan Barbarisi last week. “I think it speaks highly about our system, that the guys who are starting to rise through the ranks and are really close or, in some cases, some of them are pretty much ready, but there’s people in front of them, and it gives us depth.”

All these recent roster moves have led to several pitchers getting their first taste of the big leagues, but none have been able to stick around all that long. They were called up, soaked up some innings, then were sent down for someone else. It’s good they’re getting to experience the show! But it’s impossible to evaluate someone based on one or two appearances. The Yankees learned nothing about these guys during their brief call-ups.

The one recent call-up who appears to be getting a chance to stick around is right-hander Bryan Mitchell, who is a big league veteran compared to some of the other guys we’ve seen this month. Mitchell made his MLB debut last year and has been up a few times this season, but it wasn’t until ten days ago that he got into a game, when he threw three mop-up innings in a blowout win over the Tigers. (Mitchell got a save for that!)

The Yankees sent Mitchell down for a fresh arm the next day, but brought him back three days later — Stephen Drew‘s trip to the paternity list allowed them to bring Mitchell back before his ten days were up — and he’s been in the bullpen since. Mitchell got four outs in a blowout game last week them got another four outs in a tie game against the Astros over the weekend. His first inning of work in Houston was really impressive. He struck out two and got a weak ground ball out.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Mitchell has been a starter throughout his career, but, with David Carpenter not working out, the Yankees are looking for a right-handed reliever to pair with Dellin Betances. Branden Pinder hung around for a little while and was decent, but didn’t wow anyone. Mitchell had a wow outing in the tie game against the Astros on Saturday, plus he’s had two other strong appearances, which appears to have earned him a trial in an unfamiliar role as a short reliever.

“I’ve been called up several times as kind of a backup and not pitched. So I’m just happy to be getting some time out there on the mound,” said Mitchell to Chad Jennings. “I mean, at this point I’m kind of ready for whatever. Obviously I’d rather be here, so whatever they want me to do, I’m not against it. I’m just going to be ready for anything … There’s only so many spots. I mean there’s, what, seven starters as it is? You’ve got to take what you can get sometimes.”

The Yankees have a history of putting starting pitching prospects in the bullpen to solve their bullpen woes, most notably doing it with Joba Chamberlain in 2007. He’s not the only one though. Phil Hughes did it in 2009, David Phelps did it in 2012, and Adam Warren did it in 2013. The Yankees aren’t unique in this regard, lots of teams break young starters in as relievers, though Girardi hasn’t been shy about using these guys in big spots, like Mitchell on Saturday.

Mitchell’s stuff fits well in a short relief role — PitchFX has his fastball averaging 96 mph so far this year and his curveball is a hammer, plus he doesn’t have much of a changeup, instead using a cutter to combat lefties — and I think he could really excel as a one or two-inning reliever this summer. It’s a new role for him and that will be an adjustment, but, like every other young pitcher, Mitchell would rather reliever in the big leagues than a starter in Triple-A.

Andrew Miller figures to be back soon, and both Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson have pitched well, so Mitchell doesn’t have to take on high-leverage innings right away. Girardi said he won’t use him back-to-back days — “I think we are a ways away from that. When a guy has been a starter his whole career and works out of the bullpen you take it kind of slow just because they are not used to doing it. I think you have to be careful,” said the skipper to George King — but otherwise it’s a great chance to both help the team and expose Mitchell to the big leagues.

The move to the bullpen doesn’t have to be permanent. Mitchell can go back to starting next year, and hey, if he has success in relief this year, it could open the door to a big league rotation spot next season. That’s what happened with Joba, Hughes, Phelps, and Warren in recent years. Success in relief then another shot at the rotation. For now, Mitchell can provide some stability and halt the bullpen revolving door, and perhaps be a solution to the righty relief problem. I think he has the tools. Now it’s just a matter of getting the opportunity.