There is only one AL team the Yankees have yet to face this season, and they’ll take care of that this series when they play three in Chicago against the White Sox. It has been a full calendar month since the Bombers last won a series, so this would definitely be a good time to get off the schneid. Actually, it’s imperative if they truly intend to make a run at a wildcard spot.
What Have They Done Lately?
The ChiSox are really, really bad. So bad that they have lost each of their last ten (!) games. I’m pretty sure that makes this a trap series, no? Either way, Chicago’s south siders are 40-69 with a -87 run differential overall, both the second worst marks in the league behind the Astros. Ten losses in a row? Yikes.
Finally, a team that is worse offensively than the Yankees. The White Sox average just 3.6 runs per game with a team 80 wRC+, both the worst marks in the AL. The Yankees are the second worst in each category at 3.8 runs per game and an 81 wRC+. They’re two of the three worst offensive teams in baseball (Marlins are the worst by far). These three games are going to take like, seven hours total. The ChiSox do not have any position players on the DL.
Manager and former Yankee Robin Ventura has one legitimately above-average hitter at his disposal: 1B/DH Adam Dunn (114 wRC+). Both OF Alejandro De Aza (104 wRC+) and OF Alex Rios (101 wRC+) are slightly above-average at the moment but not comfortably. 2B Gordon Beckham (98 wRC+) is both flirting with league average and having the best year of his disappointing career. 1B/DH Paul Konerko (77 wRC+) has lost his power due to back problems and age (37). Sucks.
OF Dayan Viciedo (87 wRC+) has some pop and 3B Conor Gillaspie (79 wRC+) is actually better than what the Yankees have been running out there at the hot corner. SS Alexei Ramirez (74 wRC+), C Tyler Flowers (63 wRC+), and IF Jeff Keppinger (41 wRC+) have all been awful. The bench guys — C Josh Phegley (46 wRC+), OF Jordan Danks (28 wRC+), and OF Casper Wells (20 wRC+) — are terrible as well. It’s worth noting that as a team, the ChiSox have the second lowest walk rate in the AL (6.6%). They’re hackers.
Starting Pitching Matchups
Monday: LHP Andy Pettitte vs. LHP Jose Quintana
After a season and two-thirds, it’s pretty obvious the Yankees made a major blunder by not adding the 24-year-old Quintana to the 40-man roster after the 2011 season to prevent him from becoming a minor league free agent following his breakout season with High-A Tampa (2.91 ERA and 2.96 FIP). He hooked on with the White Sox before last year and has a 3.69 ERA (4.01 FIP) in 268 big league innings since, including a 3.62 ERA (3.79 FIP) in 131.2 innings and 22 starts this season. The strikeout (7.18 K/9 and 19.0 K%), walk (2.67 BB/9 and 7.1 BB%), homer (0.96 HR/9 and 9.4 BB%), and ground ball (44.0%) numbers are all rock solid but unspectacular. Quintana is a true five-pitch pitcher, using low-90s two and four-seamers to set up his mid-80s slider, mid-80s changeup, and upper-70s curveball. The curve and change are his top two secondary pitches. Quintana has close to no platoon split in his relatively brief big league career and he’s faced the Yankees once before, getting hit around for six runs in six innings last June.
Tuesday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda vs. LHP Chris Sale
Sale, 24, has established himself as arguably the best left-handed starter in the AL since moving into the rotation last season. It’s pretty much a toss-up between him and David Price at the moment. Sale’s got a 2.92 ERA (2.89 FIP) in 20 starts with stellar peripherals: 9.82 K/9 (27.0 K%), 1.96 BB/9 (5.4 BB%), 0.82 HR/9 (11.1% HR/FB), and 46.8% grounders. He’s essentially a three-pitch pitcher, using a low-to-mid-90s two-seamer, a low-to-mid-80s changeup, and an upper-70s slider from a funky low arm slot. Sale does have a big platoon split, but only because he destroys lefties (.168 wOBA) and is merely very good against righties (.296 wOBA). This would be a good game to rest guys like Brett Gardner, Lyle Overbay, and Ichiro Suzuki. The Yankees have faced Sale a few times over the years but just once since he moved into the rotation; he held them to one run in 7.1 innings last August.
Wednesday: LHP CC Sabathia vs. LHP Hector Santiago
Five of the six scheduled starters this series are left-handed, including all three for the ChiSox. The 25-year-old Santiago grew up in Newark and has a 3.28 ERA (4.08 FIP) in a true swingman role this season — 107 innings spread across 15 starts and eleven relief appearances. He strikes out a ton of batters (9.34 K/9 and 24.4 K%), but is liberal with the free pass (4.12 BB/9 and 10.8 BB%) and will allow the ball to be hit in the air (34.2% grounders). His homer rate (1.01 HR/9 and 9.7% HR/FB) is up there but not a disaster. Believe it or not, Santiago is seven-pitch pitcher, and that’s only because he stopped throwing his two-seamer in 2012. His arsenal includes a low-to-mid-90s four-seamer, a low-90s sinker, an upper-80s cutter, a low-80s changeup, an upper-70s slider, a mid-70s curveball, and a mid-70s screwball. Here’s a .GIF of the screwball, if you don’t believe me. The four-seamer, slider, and changeup are his top three pitches, but he will throw all of the others in a given outing. Santiago faced the Yankees twice last season, allowing four runs in four relief innings.
Stalwarts LHP Matt Thornton and RHP Jesse Crain were sold off prior to the trade deadline, so Ventura’s current bullpen is headlined by closer RHP Addison Reed (2.64 FIP) and setup man RHP Nate Jones (2.48 FIP). RHP Matt Lindstrom (3.09 FIP) continues to be rock solid and rounds out a very good end-game trip. The parade of relievers you’ve probably never heard of before include RHP Dylan Axelrod (5.45 FIP), LHP David Purcey (4.43 FIP in very limited time), RHP Ramon Troncoso (4.54 FIP), and LHP Donnie Veal (5.85 FIP). Those middle innings can be an adventure.
Even though Phil Hughes lasted just 2.2 innings yesterday, the Yankees are in okay bullpen shape. Not great but good enough. You can check out our Bullpen Workload page for details on which relievers pitched when over the last ten days. For the latest and greatest on the White Sox, I recommend South Side Sox. The title of that blog is pretty much the only reason I remember the Cubs are on Chicago’s north side and the ChiSox on the south.
Record Last Week: 2-3 (13 RS, 16 RA)
Season Record: 57-53 (420 RS, 431 RA, 54-56 pythag. record), 9.5 GB ALE/4.5 GB WC
Opponents This Week: @ White Sox (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, vs. Tigers (three games, Fri. to Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- The week started with an off-day, then the Yankees suffered a walk-off loss in their series opener against the Dodgers. Hiroki Kuroda salvaged the two-game series by beating Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday.
- Following another off-day, the Bombers headed to San Diego for a three-game weekend set. CC Sabathia got hammered in the opening loss, then Curtis Granderson and Ivan Nova teamed up to give the team a win in the middle game. Phil Hughes got smacked around in yesterday’s loss.
- Injury Updates: Alex Rodriguez (quad) played in two minor league rehab games and is ready to be activated. Derek Jeter (calf) is day-to-day with a Grade I strain. David Phelps (elbow) is out with soreness and is heading for tests. Michael Pineda (shoulder) is headed for tests after leaving a Triple-A start with stiffness. Frankie Cervelli (hand, elbow) is likely done for the year with lingering pain. David Robertson (arm) was unavailable for a few days due to fatigue but has since returned.
- The Yankees did not make a single move prior to Wednesday’s trade deadline, but they did make a run at both Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz. They also had their eye on Alberto Callaspo. Two offers were made for Phil Hughes.
- MLB will officially suspend A-Rod for the rest of this season and all of next season today. He reportedly reached out to the Yankees to discuss a possible buyout after suggesting the team and the league were conspiring to keep him off the field. Cervelli is “leaning strongly” towards accepting a plea deal.
- Melky Mesa was sent down to Triple-A Scranton to clear a roster spot for Granderson, who was activated on Friday. David Adams went down for Jayson Nix, who was activated Tuesday.
- The Yankees signed Dominican outfielder Leonardo Molina for $1.4M.
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It has now been a full month since the Yankees last won a series and more than three weeks (three weeks and two days, to be exact) since they last won back-to-back games. The Padres took Sunday’s rubber game 6-3 and it didn’t even feel that close.
Phil The Phlop
For the second straight start and third time in his last five starts, Phil Hughes failed to complete five innings of work. He’s done that a league-leading eight times this season. Heck, Phil didn’t even complete three innings on Sunday. The Padres tattooed him for five runs on six hits and three walks in 2.2 innings, and two of those eight outs were given to him: one on a sac bunt, another on an incorrect caught stealing call at second base. Five of those nine base-runners reached base in a two-strike count.
On most teams, a 4.87 ERA and 4.66 FIP through 21 starts earns you a demotion to the bullpen or the minors or whatever. Hughes is in little danger of that for two reasons. One, he’s definitely got a “teacher’s pet” thing going on. The Yankees are stubborn and desperately want to prove they can develop a starter, which is why he’s gotten opportunity after opportunity over the years. Two, the team simply doesn’t have any other rotation options right now. David Phelps (elbow), Michael Pineda (shoulder), and Vidal Nuno (groin) are all hurt and no one in Triple-A has made a decent case for themselves. Adam Warren, who threw two scoreless innings on Sunday, is the only realistic alternative. Like it or not, Hughes is almost certainly going to continue getting the ball every fifth day.
It Must Be The Ballpark
Former Yankee Ian Kennedy came into this start with a 5.23 ERA and 4.59 FIP, but you never would have known it on Sunday. The right-hander carved the Yankees up for the first five innings, holding them to two walks and two singles while striking out five. The Bombers did rough him up for two runs on two walks and two singles in the sixth, knocking him out of the game, but overall it was a solid start for Kennedy. Very nice first impression for him in front of his knew club.
The Yankees actually managed to get the tying run to the plate against the ultra-homer prone Huston Street in the ninth inning, but both Brent Lillibridge and Vernon Wells struck out on sliders down and away to end the game. I know, I was shocked too. Although the club managed a dozen base-runners, the only two highlights on offense were Curtis Granderson (single, three walks) and Austin Romine (walk, single, solo homer). They were a two-man army. The rest of the lineup went a combined 3-for-27 (.111) with two walks. For the fifth straight game and eighth time in the last ten games, the Yankees scored no more than three runs. Who knew getting no help at the trade deadline would be a bad thing?
The homer was the first of Romine’s big league career, and it was no cheapie. He hit it into the Padres bullpen just to left of dead center. Romine is 10-for-21 (.476) with four doubles and a homer in his last eight games — a small sample made even less significant by the fact that those eight games have been spread out — and it’s obvious the Yankees should start playing him some more just to see what they have. Chris Stewart is completely worn down (.171/.256/.210 in his last 37 games) and Frankie Cervelli is likely done for the year (hand, elbow, suspension). Give the kid a chance. At worst, he plays like Stewart.
Both Robinson Cano (0-for-3 with a walk) and Ichiro Suzuki (0-for-4 with a strikeout) continued their slumps, which started right after the All-Star break. Cano took that Matt Harvey fastball to the knee in the Midsummer Classic, so maybe that’s the culprit. Ichiro really doesn’t have an excuse. He just isn’t all that good. The Yankees desperately need these two — or just Cano really, they have a ton of outfielders on the roster — to snap out of it.
In the second inning, Eduardo Nunez didn’t bother to run out a ground ball to first that resulted in an inning-ending double play. Barely left the batter’s box. I think he thought the ball was going foul, but still. Then, in the sixth, he busted it out of the box on a ground ball up the middle and slid head-first into first base even though the inning-ending out was recorded on a force at second base. There was no play at first. Baseball is weird sometimes.
It didn’t really matter at the end of the day, but sitting Brett Gardner with an extreme fly ball pitcher on the mound in a huge ballpark wasn’t Joe Girardi‘s finest moment. Maybe Gardner was banged up or something — doubt it since he came off the bench in the later innings — though it’s not the first time he’s sat Gardner with Hughes on the mound this year. That’s just a bad idea.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. For some other stats, go to FanGraphs. For the standings, go to ESPN. The Yankees are now eight games back in the AL East and four games back in the wildcard race in the loss column. There are four teams (Indians, Orioles, Rangers, Royals) ahead of them in that race for the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees are off to Chicago’s south side, where Alex Rodriguez may or may not join them for their series opener against the White Sox. Either way, Monday night’s pitching matchup will be Andy Pettitte and former Yankees farmhand Jose Quintana.
Remember Andrew Brackman? Of course you do. He told Josh Horton that he is done with baseball and is going to play basketball overseas. How about that? The Brackmonster was one of the biggest busts in franchise history, especially from a financial standpoint. The team paid him north of $12M to face 13 batters at the big league level.
In other news, Josh Norris reports that OF Aaron Judge has been placed on the 7-day DL for an unknown reason. All three of the team’s first round picks landed on the DL before playing their first pro game. Impressive.
Triple-A Scranton (7-3 loss to Lehigh Valley)
- CF Melky Mesa: 0-4, 2 K
- 2B David Adams: 1-4, 1 R — eleven hits in 21 at-bats since being sent down (.524)
- DH Randy Ruiz: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
- C J.R. Murphy: 0-4, 1 E (throwing)
- RHP Brett Marshall: 5.1 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 67 of 95 pitches were strikes (71%) … second time he allowed 7+ runs in his last five starts
- RHP Dellin Betances: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 1/0 GB/FB — nine of 15 pitches were strikes (60%) … I wonder if they’re going to start using him like a normal reliever soon, meaning shorter outings, back-to-back days, etc. … he’s been going multiple innings with multiple days off between appearances, which isn’t typical for non-long men at the MLB level
An MRI revealed a Grade I strain in Derek Jeter’s right calf last night, Joe Girardi announced. “I’m not so sure what we’re going to do,” said the skipper when asked if the Cap’n would need to be placed on the DL. He indicated they may simply let Jeter play through it because it’s getting late in the season and each game is so important. Hard to see that ending well if that is indeed what happens. · (35) ·
Here is your open thread for this very pleasant evening in New York. If you’re not in the Tri-State Area, I hope the weather is just as great wherever you are. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is decent — the Braves at the Phillies (Wood vs. Lee) — plus the Dolphins and Cowboys are playing the first NFL preseason game of the year (8pm ET on NBC). Preseason football already, huh? Talk about either of those games or anything else here. Have at it.
7:00pm: Joel Sherman reports the Yankees have been informed by the league that A-Rod will be suspended tomorrow, but Bud Selig will not invoke the “integrity of the game” power and ban him from playing during the appeals process. Barring a new injury, he’s going to be in the lineup tomorrow night against the White Sox.
10:00am: Via T.J. Quinn & Andrew Marchand: MLB will indeed suspend Alex Rodriguez on Monday for his ties to Biogenesis, and it’s likely to be a 212-game ban that keeps him out through 2014. The commissioner’s office is expected to prevent Alex from playing during the appeals process by invoking its power to protect the integrity of the game. A grievance will follow and “it could get very, very ugly,” according to the ESPN scribes.
A-Rod played in his second and final minor league rehab game with Double-A Trenton yesterday, and afterwards he said he was flying to Chicago to meet the Yankees for their series opener against the White Sox on Monday. Obviously he won’t actually rejoin the team if the report is correct. Rodriguez will lose roughly $34.2M in salary as a result of the suspension, but more importantly, his career will be over. Players in their late 30s don’t miss two full seasons and come back strong.
Eleven other players are expected to be suspended Monday as well, including Frankie Cervelli. He’ll likely receive a regular ol’ 50-game first-time ban, which he could serve this year and return to the team on Opening Day next year. Suspended players don’t count against the luxury tax, which would be huge for the Yankees given their plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold next year. Obviously A-Rod is more significant in that regard than Cervelli. · (202) ·
Six years ago, the Yankees had arguably the best trio of young right-handed pitching prospects in baseball in Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy. Not a single one of them turned into a legitimate above-average starter. Kennedy had an excellent year with the Diamondbacks in 2011, sure, but he’s trending downward and comes into this afternoon’s start with a 5.23 ERA (4.59 FIP). Hughes is consistently mediocre and Joba is a (bad) reliever. Something about the best-laid plans grumble grumble.
Anyway, the Yankees have a chance to win this three-game series against the Padres today after winning last night’s game, and a win would give them a winning record on a five-game West Coast swing before heading to Chicago to play the awful White Sox. Kennedy will be making his first start for the Padres following last week’s trade, the second of his career after the Bombers shipped him to Arizona as part of the Curtis Granderson three-team deal. He has never faced the team he originally broke into the big leagues with. Here’s the lineup that will face IPK:
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- CF Curtis Granderson
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- 3B Jayson Nix
- C Austin Romine
- RHP Phil Hughes
It’s another perfect baseball weather day in San Diego. You can’t not get jealous even watching on television, but then again the weather in New York is damn near perfect today as well. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Injury Updates: Derek Jeter (quad) had an MRI last night, nut the results are not available yet … David Phelps (elbow) will see the doctor on Monday … in case you missed it earlier, Michael Pineda is headed for tests on his stiff shoulder.
Right-hander Michael Pineda is heading to New York for tests after leaving Friday’s start with stiffness in his surgically repaired right shoulder. He exited after only two innings and 29 pitches. The Yankees have been limiting Pineda to three or so innings per start recently in an effort to control his workload. He’s thrown about 40 innings since having surgery last May. · (45) ·
Well that sure was a fun game. Great pitching, a real live homer, Mariano Rivera … what more could you want? The Yankees walked off the Saturday with a 3-0 win over the Padres. Let’s recap:
- The Grandyman: It’s so nice having a corner outfielder who hits like a corner outfielder, isn’t it? Curtis Granderson‘s second game off the DL featured his second homer of the year, a two-run shot in the seventh inning against Tyson Ross. Ross was completely dominant up to that point. Granderson tacked on a single (and a stolen base) and scored the team’s third run in the ninth– with help from a blown call, of course — so he accounted for nearly all the offense. The Yankees had just five hits, and he had two of ‘em. Missed you, Curtis. Stick around this time.
- Ivan The Not Terrible: Once again, Ivan Nova was outstanding. He held the Padres to four hits and one walk in seven shutout innings, striking out eight and getting 18 of his 21 outs on the infield. Nova did it all with just two pitches too — PitchFX says he threw 48 fastballs and 37 curveballs. No sliders, no changeups. It was weird that he came out of the game with his pitch count sitting at 85, but no big deal. Nova has turned his season — and his career, really — around of late.
- Leftovers: David Robertson and Mariano Rivera retired six of the seven men they faced to preserve the win … Lyle Overbay broke up Ross’ perfect game with a flare single to left with one out in the fifth … the 3-4-5 hitters with 4-for-11 with a walk while the other six hitters went 1-for-21 … Nova went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts at the plate, and in his career he’s now 1-for-14 with 13 strikeouts. The hit was a single off Randall Delgado last June. That 1.000 BABIP is probably unsustainable.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. Despite the win, the Yankees remain seven back in the division and three back in the wildcard race, both in the loss column. They did pickup a game on two of their three wildcard competitors (the Orioles and Rangers), however. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy is your Save The Big Three! themed pitching matchup for the series finale on Sunday afternoon. IPK will be making his first start for San Diego.