Yes, it is only two games, but man these last two games were a lot of fun. The Yankees got their first looks at Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, two 25-year-old right-handers who are expected to anchor their rotation for the next few years. Both pitched well, especially after rocky second innings. Their combined pitching line: 13 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 13 K against a good Blue Jays lineup. The outcomes of the two games are almost secondary. Tanaka and Pineda look like legit rotation building blocks.

Anyway, here is your open thread for the night. MLB Network will air a game, though who you see depends on where you live. The Final Four is on plus the Nets, Devils, and (hockey) Rangers are all playing tonight as well. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s loss, Tanaka, Pineda, or anything else right here. Have at it.

(Video of Pineda’s start is not embeddable for whatever reason. Here’s the link.)

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (30)
  • Curry: Yankees don’t appear to have interest in Ike Davis

    Via Jack Curry: The Yankees do not appear to have any interest in Ike Davis. The Mets have made it no secret they are open to trading their first baseman, but they have turned down a bunch of offers these last few months according to Andy Martino. The Yankees lost Mark Teixeira to a right hamstring strain and the 15-day DL on Friday.

    Davis, 27, is currently riding the bench as Lucas Duda gets an extended audition at first. He hit .205/.326/.334 (90 wRC+) with nine homer in 103 games last year, and was so bad in the first half that he was shipped to Triple-A for a month. Davis hit .227/.308/.462 (111 wRC+) with 32 homers as recently as 2012. He has big lefty power and patience, two things the Yankees love, plus he has at least one option left and can go to Triple-A. Davis would made sense as a depth player and reclamation project for the Yankees.
    · (14) ·


The Yankees got their first look at Masahiro Tanaka last night and things went very well following a rough first two innings. This afternoon they will finally get their first look at Michael Pineda, who has not thrown a meaningful pitch these last two years because of shoulder surgery. Both Hector Noesi and Jesus Montero have flamed out (obligatory they’re still young, yadda yadda yadda) and Jose Campos has yet to escape Low-A ball. It’s been 802 days since the trade. 802!

Pineda is finally ready to help the Yankees. He pitched well in Spring Training but, most importantly, he looked healthy. His delivery was free and easy, the ball came out of his hand well, and his slider was allergic to bats. He checked every box in camp. Regular season baseball is a different animal though, and I’m sure he’ll be a little nervous even though he’s pitched in the big leagues before. After missing this much time, he probably feels like a rookie again. Either way, Big Mike is finally here.

In case you missed it earlier, Mark Teixeira has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring strain. Austin Romine was called up and Frankie Cervelli will see some time at first base. Joe Girardi told Dan Barbarisi that David Robertson is not available this afternoon after working back-to-back days, so Shawn Kelley is the closer du jour. Wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Thornton gets the call for the final few outs if lefties are due up. Here is the Blue Jays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Brian McCann
  5. LF Alfonso Soriano
  6. 1B Kelly Johnson
  7. C Frankie Cervelli
  8. 3B Yangervis Solarte
  9. 2B Dean Anna
    RHP Michael Pineda

It is really cold and drizzling in Toronto, so I assume the Rogers Centre roof will be closed for the game. First pitch is scheduled for 1:08pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (516)
  • Update: Yankees call up Romine, place Teixeira on 15-day DL

    11:07am: As expected, Teixeira has been placed on the 15-day DL. Joe Girardi confirmed it isn’t a bad strain, but enough that they don’t want to play shorthanded.

    11:05am: The Yankees have called up Austin Romine, meaning Mark Teixeira and his stained right hamstring are likely headed to the DL. Frankie Cervelli will reportedly work out at first base along with Kelly Johnson.
    · (48) ·

I can’t remember the last time I looked forward to a regular season game as much I did Friday’s. Maybe Jesus Montero‘s debut a few years ago? I’m not sure. The Yankees got their first look at Masahiro Tanaka on Friday and he helped them to a 7-3 win in the series opener against the Blue Jays.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Masahiro My Hero
The start was not good. Tanaka began his Yankees career by serving up a homerun on his third Major League pitch, a hanging splitter to Melky Cabrera leading off the first inning. Not ideal. Tanaka rebounded to retire the next three batters, including strikeouts of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The Blue Jays pushed across two runs in the second inning with ground balls — one through the right side of the infield, one up the middle, and one through the left side. Mark Teixeira also made an error when he threw the ball away trying to get a force at second.

The first time through the lineup, the Blue Jays scored three runs and put four of nine men on base. After that, Tanaka allowed just two base-runners and retired 16 of the final 18 men he faced, including eight in a row at one point. We’ve been hearing about his makeup and all that for months, but we saw it in action in this game. Things were going poorly early on, but Tanaka didn’t get rattled at all. He settled down, got a groove, and cruised for his final five innings.

Tanaka’s final line was those three runs (two earned) on six hits and no walks in seven innings. He struck out eight (including Bautista twice) and got eight ground ball outs compared to five in the air. Sixty-five of his 97 pitches were strikes, including 13 swings and misses. Here is the pitch breakdown, courtesy of Brooks Baseball:

  • 45 fastballs, 29 strikes, two swings and misses
  • 23 sliders, 15 strikes, three swings and misses
  • 12 splitters, nine strikes, six swings and misses
  • 11 curveballs, eight strikes, one swing and miss
  • six cutters, four strikes, one swing and miss

Outside of sheer dominance, this was probably the next best thing. Tanaka showed the ability to shake off a bad start to the game and still give the team a quality outing, against a good lineup at that. It’s obvious he’s no Kei Igawa, right? If you were worried about that, you don’t need to be anymore. Hell of a first impression. Tanaka was pretty much as advertised and that’s very, very good. Can’t wait to see him in five days.

Hooray Replay!
The Yankees jumped all over Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan in the first inning, scoring two runs on five hits, all within the first six batters. Ichiro Suzuki struck out and Yangervis Solarte fouled out with the bases loaded, so they didn’t do as much damage as they could have in the inning. Such is life. Two runs is better than no runs.

Two innings later, the first official use of the new instant replay system in Yankees history contributed to a two-run rally. Ichiro appeared to beat out an infield single with two outs, but first base umpire Dana DeMuth called him out. Joe Girardi challenged — after the team’s video people gave him the thumbs up, of course — and the call was overturned. Solarte made the Jays pay by following the replay with a two-run double on a ball that I thought was a pop-up off the bat. It just kept going and going and going until it clanked off the wall. Hooray technology! It certainly helped the Yankees in this one.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The $153 Million Man
What a game for Jacoby Ellsbury. New York’s new leadoff hitter went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and two stolen bases, plus he robbed Dioner Navarro of a base hit with a nice sliding catch to end the sixth. The one out he made was a line drive back to the pitcher that Steve Delabar knocked down and threw over to first. Ellsbury took over the game and we’ve seen what that’s like from the other side. It’s much more fun when he does it wearing a Yankees uniform, no doubt about it. Great game by him.

Dellin Betances‘ control problems reared their ugly head as only three of his 13 pitches were strikes. He walked two of three batters faced. Matt Thornton retired both men he faced before that (struck out the only lefty) and David Robertson retired all three men he faced after that. Would have been nice for Betances to get those last three outs, but he was very wild and Girardi couldn’t take his chances. So it goes.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

In case you missed it earlier, Teixeira left the game in the second inning with a right hamstring strain. Apparently he caught a spike in the turf while going after a foul ball. There is no word on the severity and if he has to miss more than a few days, the Yankees will be in some trouble. They don’t have a true backup first baseman on the roster and their Triple-A options (Russ Canzler, basically) aren’t great either.

The Yankees scored insurance runs in the eighth (Gardner single) and ninth (Solarte double). Gardner went 2-for-4 with a walk and stolen base while Solarte went 2-for-5 with two doubles off the wall. Something tells me he’s going to get another start on Saturday. Kelly Johnson went 2-for-5 with a triple, Ichiro went 3-for-5 with two infield singles, and Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Teixeira all singled in a run. Dean Anna went 1-for-4 with a walk in his first career game, so congrats to him. Sixteen hits and four walks overall. Total team effort.

Because the first challenge was successful, Girardi got another one and he used it in the eighth to challenge Delabar’s play on Ellsbury. The replay confirmed he was out, but I liked the challenge there because there was a man on base and a chance to put together a big inning. That late in the game, it was unlikely to be needed later. I’d rather see Girardi roll the dice on a play like that than not use it.

The Yankees still have not hit a homerun yet this season. It’s the first time they failed to hit a homer in the first four games since 1990, when they didn’t hit their first longball until their eighth (!) game. I sure hope this team doesn’t wait that long to hit a dinger. I’ve been waiting for ‘em all winter.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees went from last place to third place today, so that’s cool.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams on Saturday afternoon, in the middle game of this three-game set. Michael Pineda will finally make his first start for the Yankees, more than two years after the trade that originally brought him to New York. He’ll be opposed by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (101)
  • Update: Mark Teixeira leaves game with strained right hamstring

    11:20pm: Teixeira may go for tests when the Yankees return to the New York on Monday, Joe Girardi said after the game. Right now nothing is planned. That’s … good news? I guess.

    8:54pm: Teixeira left the game with a strained right hamstring, the Yankees announced. No word on the severity though. The Yankees don’t have a backup first baseman, not even in Triple-A, so they have a problem on their hands if Teixeira has to miss more than a few days.

    8:28pm: Mark Teixeira left tonight’s game for an unknown reason. Replays showed him grabbing his right hamstring after fielding a foul ball, so it doesn’t appear to be his surgically repaired wrist. Still no official word yet though. It is the same hamstring he hurt during the 2010 ALCS. Stay tuned for updates.
    · (51) ·

Baseball America published a list of the youngest players at each level (no subs. req’d). Who is youngest player in MLB? Bryce Harper, even though he is now in his third big league season. Crazy. OF Ramon Flores is the fourth youngest player in the Triple-A International League, C Gary Sanchez is the sixth youngest in the Double-A Eastern League, and C Luis Torrens and 3B Miguel Andujar are the second and tenth youngest players in the Low-A South Atlantic League, respectively.

Triple-A Scranton was rained out. They’re going to play a doubleheader tomorrow. Donnie Collins says RHP Chase Whitley will start the first game, RHP Graham Stoneburner the second game. This will make it each to get both C John Ryan Murphy and C Austin Romine a game behind the plate.

Double-A Trenton (7-3 loss to New Hampshire)

  • OF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 BB – threw a runner out at third
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-5, 2 K
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • LF Ben Gamel: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
  • LHP Jeremy Bleich: 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HB, 4/1 GB/FB — 50 of 82 pitches were strikes (61%) … not sure how starting will work for him, but he’s in the rotation because they need some arms early in the season
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (24)

Game Four: TANAKA

By in Game Threads. · Comments (606) ·
(Mike Carlson/Getty)

(Mike Carlson/Getty)

For most of the winter, we didn’t even know if Masahiro Tanaka would be made available. We heard the Yankees wanted him early in the offseason, but MLB and NPB decided to revise the posting system, and no one could be posted until that was compete. It took weeks and at one point it appeared there would be no agreement. Eventually it all got sorted out and Tanaka became available.

After months of rumors, the Yankees and Tanaka agreed to a record seven-year contract worth $155M. The team has to pay another $20M to the Rakuten Golden Eagles on top of that. It isn’t just the largest contract ever given to an international player (by $87M!), it was the fourth largest pitching contract in baseball history at the time. Brian Cashman tried to downplay expectations by saying Tanaka could be a solid number three starter this year, but c’mon, you don’t give a guy that much money without expecting an immediate impact.

Tanaka’s ascent to the top of the Yankees’ rotation officially begins tonight, when he makes his first start of the season. Spring Training was a success and he has handled everything well by all accounts, but now it’s time for him to show why so many teams were willing to sink nine-figures into him. Despite all of his experience and success in Japan, I’m sure there will be some nerves in his first MLB start. How could there not be? He’s only human.

Joe Girardi told Dan Barbarisi the flight up from Houston was one of the bumpiest of his career — he called it the “knuckleball express” — so it’s good Tanaka flew ahead of the team earlier this week. The rest of the Yankees weren’t so lucky. Derek Jeter is getting a scheduled day of rest after playing three straight games, which is a good idea given his injuries and the turf. The struggling Alfonso Soriano is sitting as well. Ichiro Suzuki and Yangervis Solarte are each getting another start after being yesterday’s offensive heroes. Here is the Blue Jays lineup and here is Joe Girardi’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. 3B Kelly Johnson
  7. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  8. 2B Yangervis Solarte
  9. SS Dean Anna
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It has been pouring in Toronto all day, so the Rogers Centre roof will be closed. At some point the Yankees will play a game outdoors. I think. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (606)
  • King: Nationals not interested in Murphy or Romine

    Via George King: The Nationals do not have interest in either John Ryan Murphy or Austin Romine in the wake of Wilson Ramos’ injury. Ramos had surgery to remove the hamate bone from his left wrist and will be out 4-5 weeks. Former Rays backstop Jose Lobaton will handle starting duties in the meantime.

    Since Ramos is coming back relatively soon, Frankie Cervelli doesn’t make much sense for Washington. He is out of options and can’t go to the minors, and they already have two quality catchers in Ramos and Lobaton. The Nationals don’t have any spare infielders to move for a catcher anyway. They insist they’re going to hold onto Danny Espinosa. Oh well.
    · (7) ·

(Photo Credit: Flickr user kyle.tucker95 via Creative Commons license)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user kyle.tucker95 via Creative Commons license)

the series against the Astros did not go according to plan, but this weekend’s series against the Blue Jays in Toronto figures to be much more exciting. Not only are the Yankees playing a division rival for the first time in 2014, but we’re going to get our first regular season look at both Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda as well. To say those two are important to the future of the franchise would be a massive understatement.

What Have They Done Lately?
Toronto opened their season with a four-game series against the Rays, which they split down in Tampa. As you know, they were a huge disappointment last season, finishing 74-88 with a -44 run differential. Tonight is their home opener.

On paper, few teams can match the powerful lineup the Jays trot out there each day. They only scored eleven runs in the four games against Tampa Bay, but don’t let that fool you. They had a team 99 wRC+ and averaged 4.40 runs per game last season despite all their injuries, and they are returning almost all the same personnel. Toronto will be without Jose Reyes (114 wRC+ in 2013) this weekend. He’s on the DL with another hamstring problem.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Manager John Gibbons has two elite right-handed power bats in his lineup. OF Jose Bautista (134 wRC+ in 2013/264 wRC+ in 2014) has been tearing the cover off the ball since the start of Spring Training, so he looks to be all the way back from his 2012 wrist surgery. 1B Edwin Encarnacion (145/-31) is a monster. Maybe the most underappreciated great hitter in baseball. I’m going to point out his 2013 stats again: 82 walks, 66 extra-base hits, 62 strikeouts. Pujolsian. DH Adam Lind (132/321) and OF Colby Rasmus (130/24) balance the lineup with some lefty pop.

With Reyes out, former Yankee OF Melky Cabrera (87/90) has been leading off while fellow former Yankee C Dioner Navarro (13/-4) bats fifth. 3B Brett Lawrie (94/-15) is still a maniac, and IF Ryan Goins (62/-100) and IF Maicer Izturis (63/285) have been splitting time at second base early on. SS Jonathan Diaz (-100/66) was called up to replace Reyes. OF Moises Sierra (125/-100) joins backups C Josh Thole (37/190) and C Erik Kratz (78/645). Yes, they’re carrying three catchers. Thole is R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher and I guess they want to keep Kratz around as well. Whatever. Remember, the wRC+ numbers for 2014 are tiny, tiny samples.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka vs. RHP Dustin McGowan (Career vs. NYY) (Pitcher GIFs)
It has now been seven years since the 32-year-old McGowan put together that promising 2.3 bWAR season in 2007. Arm injuries have completely derailed his career, limiting him to only 205.1 total innings since that breakout year. He pitched to a 2.45 ERA (3.67 FIP) in 25.2 relief innings with strong peripherals — 9.12 K/9 (22.8 K%), 4.21 BB/9 (10.5 BB%), and 46.6% grounders — during his return to the mound late last year, and this spring he managed to win a rotation spot. Even after all the injuries, McGowan sat in the mid-90s with his fastball in 2014, though I would think he’ll lose a little with the move into the rotation. A mid-80s slider and mid-80s changeup are his two secondary pitches. Given all the time he’s missed, it’s tough to know what to expect out of McGowan as a starter. I’m not sure how much help previous experience against him will be for the team’s hitters.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Saturday: RHP Michael Pineda vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (Career vs. NYY) (Pitcher GIFs)
Dickey, 39, had a solid but disappointing debut season with Toronto. Disappointing because he was the reigning NL Cy Young award winner. He threw 224.2 innings of 4.21 ERA (4.58 FIP) ball, with a good walk rate (2.84 BB/9 and 7.5 BB%) but mediocre strikeout (7.09 K/9 and 18.8 K%) and ground ball (40.3%) numbers. Lefties (.339 wOBA) hit him quite a bit harder than righties (.298 wOBA). Dickey is a knuckleballer as you know, though he apparently dropped the harder low-80s version he threw with the Mets, sticking with the softer mid-70s version exclusively. He throws the knuckler roughly nine out of every ten pitches. His show-me fastball hums in right around 80 mph. The Rays roughed Dickey up on Opening Day, scoring six runs on five hits and six walks (four strikeouts).

Sunday: LHP CC Sabathia vs. RHP Drew Hutchinson (Career vs. NYY) (Pitcher GIFs)
McGowan is the not the only guy in the rotation coming back from major injury. Hutchison, 23, made eleven mostly ineffective starts in 2012 (4.60 ERA and 4.48 FIP) before blowing out his elbow and needing Tommy John surgery. His strikeout (7.52 K/9 and 19.1 K%), walk (3.07 BB/9 and 7.8 BB%), and ground ball (44.6%) rates were alright before the injury. Hutchison did not pitch in the big leagues at all last season and he only threw 35.1 rehab innings in the minors. And yet, he won a rotation spot in camp. A low-90s fastball is his bread and butter and he throws it a ton, more than 70% of the time. Mid-80s sliders and changeups round out the repertoire. As with McGowan, it’s unclear what Hutchison brings to the table post surgery.

Loup. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty)

Loup. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty)

Bullpen Status
The Blue Jays are without closer RHP Casey Janssen (2.74 FIP in 2013), who is nursing a shoulder problem. RHP Sergio Santos (1.84 FIP in 2013/2.96 FIP in 2014) and LHP Brett Cecil (2.88/-3.04) are in a closer platoon for the time being. RHP Steve Delabar (2.72/2.96) handles most setup situations.

RHP Esmil Rogers (4.73/7.87) and RHP Jeremy Jeffress (3.43/7.68) both pitched yesterday and threw quite a bit of pitches (41 and 29, respectively), so they’re probably unavailable for tonight’s game. LHP Aaron Loup (3.32/1.76) is a really good middle innings lefty specialist. RHP Todd Redmond (4.40 FIP in 2013) is the long man and he has not yet appeared in a game this season.

The Yankees used all of their relievers in the series against the Astros — only Shawn Kelley pitches twice — so everyone has gotten into a game and no one has been sitting around for a week waiting to a pitch. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for all the specific reliever usage details. For the latest and greatest on the Blue Jays, I recommend Drunk Jays Fans.

Categories : Series Preview
Comments (33)
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