Game 20: A Chance To Take Over First Place

(Mike Skobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

First place is on the line tonight! Well, not really. It’s only April 27th. But still, the Yankees and Rays are currently tied atop the AL East with identical 11-8 records, so the winner of tonight’s game will have sole possession of first place. The Yankees have not held sole possession of the top spot in the AL East since May 18th of last season, and even that was only a half-game lead. The last time they led by at least one full game was May 13th, 143 regular season games ago.

The Bombers swept the Rays in Tampa Bay last weekend and now the two teams are set to play in the Bronx. Fun fact: tonight will be the Rays’ first outdoor game of the season. They’ve played their 19 games this year in Tropicana Field, Rogers Centre, and Marlins Park, which all have some sort of roof. Man, baseball indoors is drab. I’ll happily trade a few rainouts each year for stadium with no roof. Here is the Rays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

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

It’s a nice night for baseball in New York. A little cool and windy but nothing crazy. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Awards!: Mark Teixeira was named the AL Player of the Week, MLB announced. He went 8-for-24 (.333) with five homers, four walks, and three strikeouts in seven games last week.

Mike Trout unanimously named AL MVP, Yankees shut out in voting

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)
(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

As expected, Angels outfielder Mike Trout was named the AL MVP on Thursday night, the BBWAA announced. He won unanimously. Trout won his first MVP in what was the worst of his three full seasons as a big leaguer. Weird. Victor Martinez of the Tigers and Michael Brantley of the Indians finished a distant second and third, respectively.

Not a single Yankee received an MVP vote. Not even a token tenth place vote. That hasn’t happened since 1992. I thought maybe Dellin Betances or Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Gardner would sneak a bottom of the ballot vote, but I guess not. The Yankees had at least one player finish in the top five of the voting every year from 2002-13, thanks mostly to Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. The full voting results are at the BBWAA’s site.

Corey Kluber wins AL Cy Young, Yankees shut out in voting

(Jim Rogash/Getty)
(Jim Rogash/Getty)

Indians right-hander Corey Kluber was named the 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday night, the BBWAA announced. He received 17 of 30 first place votes and beat out Mariners righty Felix Hernandez by only ten points. If one first place vote had gone to Felix instead Kluber, Hernandez would have won.

No Yankees pitcher received a Cy Young vote, which isn’t all that surprising. I was hopeful Dellin Betances would steal a bottom of the ballot vote a la David Robertson in 2011, but that didn’t happen. White Sox southpaw Chris Sale finished a distant third in the voting and former Yankee Phil Hughes finished seventh. The Twins right-hander received one fourth place vote and four fifth place votes. Good for him. The full voting results are at the BBWAA’s site.

Joe Girardi finishes sixth in Manager of the Year voting

(Stephen Dunn/Getty)
(Stephen Dunn/Getty)

Former Yankees manager and current Orioles manager Buck Showalter was named the AL Manager of the Year on Tuesday night, the BBWAA announced. He joins Tony La Russa as the only managers to win the award with three different teams. Showalter received 25 of the 30 first place votes and finished with 132 points.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia finished a distant second (61 points) and Royals skipper Ned Yost finished third (41 points) in the voting. Joe Girardi received one token third place vote and finished tied for sixth with Athletics manager Bob Melvin. Lloyd McClendon of the Mariners and Terry Francona of the Indians also received votes. The full voting results are at the BBWAA’s site.

Dellin Betances finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting on Monday. The Yankees don’t have any finalists for the Cy Young or MVP awards, but there’s always some bottom of the ballot weirdness. I’m sure a few New York players will get random votes.

Dellin Betances among AL Rookie of the Year finalists

As expected, Dellin Betances is one of three finalists for the AL Rookie of the Year award, the BBWAA announced. Betances is up against Jose Abreu of the White Sox and Matt Shoemaker of the Angels. Abreu’s going to win in a landslide, so it’s basically Betances and Shoemaker competing for second place. No shame in that. Masahiro Tanaka‘s injury took him out of the Rookie of the Year running. No other Yankees were among the rest of the major awards finalists.

No Yankees among 2014 Gold Glove finalists

Rawlings announced the 2014 Gold Glove finalists earlier today, and, somewhat surprisingly, no Yankees were among the players selected. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury were their best Gold Glove candidates but neither made it. Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, and Michael Brantley are the left field finalists while Jackie Bradley Jr., Adam Eaton, and Adam Jones are up in center.

Here is the full list of finalists. The Gold Glove winners will be announced Friday, November 7th. Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira were the Yankees’ last Gold Glove winners (both 2012).

Betances finishes second to Greg Holland for Mariano Rivera Award

MLB announced yesterday that Royals closer Greg Holland won the first Mariano Rivera Award, which will be given annually the top reliever in the AL. Craig Kimbrel won the NL version, the Trevor Hoffman Award. The award is voted on by Rivera, Hoffman, and Hall of Fame relievers Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, and Goose Gossage.

According to Jon Heyman, Dellin Betances finished second to Holland in the voting for the Mo Award. Zach Britton finished third. Betances threw more innings (90 vs. 62.1) and had a better ERA (1.40 vs. 1.44), FIP (1.64 vs. 1.83), strikeout rate (39.6% vs. 37.5%), and walk rate (7.0% vs. 8.3%) than Holland this past season, as well as more fWAR (3.2 vs. 2.3) and bWAR (3.7 vs. 2.5). But he had 45 fewer saves. A bunch of ex-closers voted for the closer. Such is life.