Kimbrel off the board: Padres trade closer to Red Sox

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

According to multiple reports, the Padres have traded closer Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox for four prospects, most notably outfielder Manuel Margot and shortstop Javier Guerra. has them ranked as the 25th and 76th best prospects in baseball, respectively. Both clubs have since announced the deal.

The Yankees tried hard to acquire Kimbrel at the trade deadline, reporting offering top shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo and others for Kimbrel and second baseman Jedd Gyorko (and the rest of Gyorko’s big contract). There have been no indications the two sides would revisit the deal this winter, but it seemed like a possibility.

Brian Cashman said the Yankees are “open to anything” multiple times at the GM Meetings last week, so much so that closer Andrew Miller‘s name has popped up in trade rumors. There’s been speculation they could trade Miller, then replace him with someone like Kimbrel or a trade for another high-end reliever.

Anyway, the Yankees remain set in the late innings with Miller and Dellin Betances. Justin Wilson is a pretty good third option as well. The bullpen certainly isn’t a priority, but there’s no such thing as too many good relievers. Second base and the rotation remain the biggest needs.

Yankeemetrics: Welcome to October (Sept. 28-Oct. 1)

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

We’re going to start this Yankeemetrics off with the good news first …

They’re baaaaack!
The Yankees pretty much couldn’t have written a better script for their playoff-clinching victory:

Milestone win, No. 10,000? Check.
Against your long-standing rival? Check.
With your veteran (former?) ace on the mound? Check.
And in your final home game of the season? Check.

Oh, and this (h/t to Brendan Kuty):
The Yankees are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012, snapping a two-season drought that felt like an eternity for most Yankee fans. It’s the 52nd time they’ve made the postseason — a pretty impressive number considering that no other franchise even has made 30 postseason appearances. This is also the fifth time they’ve made it as a wild card — in the previous four trips, they’ve advanced to the ALCS just once and have never won the World Series.

The win also, of course, was the 10,000th in franchise history (which dates back to 1903), as the Yankees became the first American League team to reach that milestone. This is the second time that the Red Sox were the victim of a nice round number franchise win — on June 30, 1949 they beat Boston for their 4,000th win in franchise history.

CC Sabathia capped off his remarkable late-season resurgence with another strong outing, allowing just one run on six hits in five innings. Although he struggled at times this season (to put it mildly), he was at his best pitching against the Red Sox. He finished with a 2.12 ERA in three starts vs. Boston, his lowest ERA in a single season against them since joining the Yankees.

And now onto the not-so-good news …

Score early and … not often
The champagne wasn’t the only thing put on ice at Yankee Stadium on Monday night. The Yankees’ bats were chilled in their 5-1 loss to the Red Sox — and were frozen solid in the clutch, as they went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez threw six innings of one-run ball, earning his third win in four starts against the Yankees this year. Rodriguez is first Red Sox pitcher to beat Yankees three times in a season before turning 23 years old since Mike Nagy in 1969, and the first left-hander to do it since Babe Ruth in 1917.

For the Yankees, Ivan Nova held the Red Sox scoreless through five innings. But things unraveled in the sixth and seventh innings when he allowed two-run homers to Travis Shaw and Jackie Bradley Jr., resulting in his 10th loss of the season, matching CC Sabathia for the team “lead.”

Nova and Sabathia are just the second set of Yankee teammates with at least 10 losses, a losing record and an ERA of 4.70 or worse in the same season. The only other season this happened was 1991, when the Yankees had three (!) guys — Jeff Johnson, Tim Leary, Wade Taylor — reach each of those thresholds.

Deja vu all over again
For the second straight night, the Yankees failed to move closer to clinching a playoff spot, losing to the Red Sox 10-4 on Tuesday. And, for the second straight night, the Yankees scored early and then not again, putting up four runs in the first inning and zero runs in the next eight frames.

The game couldn’t have started any worse for the Yankees and Michael Pineda. Small Mike allowed six of the first seven batters to score and the Yankees were down 6-0 even before they stepped to the plate.

The final three runs in that first inning came off the bat of Blake Swihart, who clubbed a three-run homer into the right field seats. The catcher later added a two-run homer in the eighth inning, cementing his place in the record books of this historic rivalry. The 23-year-old Swihart is the youngest Red Sox player ever with at least two homers and five RBIs in a game versus the Yankees.

Round number alert! Brett Gardner stole his 20th base of the season, the sixth time he’s reached that mark in his career. Only three other players have compiled at least six 20-steal seasons with the Yankees: Wid Conroy (six), Hal Chase (eight) and Derek Jeter (eight).

Deja vu all over again, Part II
Another night, another game of wasted opportunities for this Yankees team that is doing its best to keep the beer and champagne on ice for as long as possible.

They certainly had their chances against the Red Sox in Wednesday’s extra-inning loss, putting 23 guys on base — their most baserunners in a loss to the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium since June 17, 1986. The end result was a crushing 9-5 defeat, their largest (in terms of runs) extra-inning loss ever at Yankee Stadium in a game against the Red Sox.

It was also their third straight loss to Boston by at least four runs, the first time in the history of the rivalry that the Yankees have dropped three games in a row to the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, each by four or more runs.

The Yankees were eliminated from AL East contention on Wednesday, sealing their inevitable fate in a race the Yankees once led by seven games in late July. This is first time ever that the Yankees have not won division/league title after having a lead of more than six games at any point in the season.

9/28 to 10/1 Series Preview: Boston Red Sox


It’s the final home series of the season. The Red Sox are in the Bronx for a four-game set starting tonight, and if all goes as planned, the Yankees will clinch a postseason berth at Yankee Stadium this week. The Yankees are 10-5 against the Red Sox this year, but only 3-3 at Yankee Stadium. They’ve won each of the last four series these two teams have played.

What Have The Red Sox Done Lately?

The Red Sox swept the Orioles at home this weekend, and they didn’t just sweep them, they shut them out all three game. They outscored the O’s 17-0 in the three games. Boston is 75-80 with a -6 run differential overall, good for fourth place in the AL East race. Their tragic number is one, so the Yankees can officially eliminate the BoSox from postseason contention this series. That’ll be sweet.

Offense & Defense

The Red Sox are averaging 4.65 runs per game with a team 98 wRC+ this season, but they’ve been much better of late, averaging 5.21 runs per game with a team 107 wRC+ since the All-Star break. They’re without OF Hanley Ramirez (89 wRC+) and 3B Pablo Sandoval (75 wRC+), who are done for the season with a shoulder injury and pneumonia, respectively. A total of 957 position players have appeared in a game in 2015. Sandoval and Hanley are tied for 957th with -1.9 fWAR. Woof.

Ortiz. (Presswire)
Ortiz. (Presswire)

Interim manager Torey Lovullo — manager John Farrell is away from the team undergoing cancer treatment — still builds his lineup around DH David Ortiz (134 wRC+), who, after a slow start, has typical David Ortiz numbers now. OF Mookie Betts (116 wRC+) and SS Xander Bogaerts (112 wRC+) have been Boston’s two best players this year, and 2B Dustin Pedroia (120 wRC+) just recently returned from his latest injury. UTIL Brock Holt (101 wRC+) is now filling at third after playing second while Pedroia was out.

OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (122 wRC+) and OF Rusney Castillo (81 wRC+) surround Betts in the outfield — Bradley had that insane hot streak a few weeks but has cooled off big time recently — and IF Travis Shaw (120 wRC+) is getting most of the playing time at first base. C Blake Swihart (86 wRC+) and C Ryan Hanigan (84 wRC+) share catching duties. The crop of September call-ups features C Sandy Leon, IF Deven Marrero, and IF Josh Rutledge.

The Red Sox have a very good team defense now that Hanley and Sandoval are out of the picture. Betts, Bradley, and Castillo are all good to great in the outfield and both Pedroia and Bogaerts are strong up the middle. Shaw and Holt are fine on the corners. Not great but not a disaster either. Hanigan rates as a strong pitch-framer while Swihart is average. Both throw out an average number of base-stealers too.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (7pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. BOS) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (vs. NYY)
This has been a good but not great rookie campaign for the 22-year-old Rodriguez, who has a 3.97 ERA (4.04 FIP) in 20 starts and 115.2 innings. The BoSox have been spacing out his starts of late to control his workload. Rodriguez has average-ish peripherals across the board — 18.8 K%, 7.3 BB%, 43.4 GB%, and 1.01 HR/9 — and has been much better against righties (.292 wOBA) than lefties (.359 wOBA). That’s because no one bites on his mid-80s slider. He has nothing for lefties other than his mid-90s four-seamer. Rodriguez does have a good mid-80s changeup though. The Yankees have faced Rodriguez three times this year and they’ve scored exactly two runs all three times (6.1 innings, seven innings, and five innings.)

Tuesday (7pm ET): TBA vs. LHP Wade Miley (vs. NYY)
Miley, 28, has a 4.39 ERA (3.81 FIP) in 188.2 innings across 31 starts in his first season with the Red Sox. Neither his strikeout (17.9%) nor walk (7.5%) rates are anything special, though both his grounder (48.9%) and homer (0.81 HR/9) numbers are better than average. That’s his game, getting ground balls. Righties (.326 wOBA) have had a little more success against him than lefties (.294 wOBA). Miley works right around 90 mph with both his two and four-seam fastballs, in the low-80s with his slider and changeup, and in the upper-70s with his curveball. The curve is his seldom-used fifth pitch. He also works extremely fast. Gets the ball and throws it, no walking around or anything. Miley has seen the Yankees three times this year: two runs in 5.1 innings in April, three runs in seven innings in May, and six runs in 5.1 innings in July.

Porcello. (Presswire)
Porcello. (Presswire)

Wednesday (7pm ET): TBA vs. RHP Rick Porcello (vs. NYY)
The overall numbers are ugly (5.04 ERA and 4.29 FIP) but the 26-year-old Porcello has been much better in six starts since coming off the DL (2.98 ERA and 3.10 FIP). That’s not necessarily a “he’s healthy now” thing. It’s more of a “they let him focus on his sinker again” thing. Porcello’s strikeout (19.9%) and grounder (45.5%) rates are about average, his walk rate (5.3%) is very good, and his homer rate (1.38 HR/9) is very bad. He’s also been hit much harder by lefties (.358 wOBA) than righties (.326 wOBA). Both Porcello’s sinker and four-seamer sit in the low-90s, and his go-to offspeed pitch is a mid-70s curveball. He’ll also throw mid-80s sliders and low-80s changeups. Believe it or not, the Yankees have faced Porcello just once this year, scoring three runs (one earned) in eight innings earlier this month.

Thursday (7pm ET): TBA vs. LHP Rich Hill (vs. NYY)
Baseball is weird, man. Hill, now 35, started his career as a promising starter with the Cubs from 2005-07, then he suddenly couldn’t throw strikes in 2008. He moved to the bullpen, bounced around from 2009-14 — he appeared in 14 games for the Yankees last September — and wound up in an independent league earlier this season. Hill moved back into the rotation with the Long Island Ducks, dominated in two starts (11 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 21 K), got scooped up by Boston, and now he’s in their rotation. Naturally, Hill has a 1.17 ERA (1.63 FIP) in three starts with the Red Sox this month. He’s struck out 30, walked two, and allowed ten hits. For what it’s worth, Hill attributes his newfound success to being “able to figure out the most efficient way for me to pitch.” He chalks it all up to experience. There’s been no change in his stuff at all — four-seamer right around 90 mph, a big-breaking curve in the low-70s, and a few low-80s changeups per start — so I guess it’s just a matter of throwing strikes and whatnot. Baseball, man.

Meanwhile, aside from Nova, the Yankees rotation remains unsettled this week because of Masahiro Tanaka‘s hamstring. He could return pretty much any day now, though Thursday is the absolutely latest he could start a game and then be available for the wildcard game next Tuesday. That’s the deadline, basically. So the Yankees are currently listing three TBAs while they wait for Tanaka to get the okay.

Bullpen Status
The Boston bullpen has been a weakness all season, and they’re now without closer RHP Koji Uehara and setup man RHP Junichi Tazawa. Uehara was hit by a comebacker and broke his wrist, and Tazawa was shut down because his workload was getting crazy. RHP Jean Machi (5.20 ERA/4.58 FIP) and LHP Robbie Ross Jr. (3.99/4.05) have taken over as Lovullo’s late-inning duo.

LHP Tommy Layne (4.08/3.74) is the matchup lefty while RHP Alexi Ogando (4.19/5.49) and RHP Noe Ramirez (4.38/6.15 in limited time) will see some setup work because there are no other options. LHP Craig Breslow (4.22/5.11) is also in the mix. RHP Jonathan Aro, RHP Matt Barnes, RHP Ryan Cook, RHP Heath Hembree, and RHP Roman Mendez are the extra September arms. Ramirez, Layne, and Ross pitched yesterday.

Keep tabs on Joe Girardi‘s relief crew with out Bullpen Workload page. Over the Monster is the place to go for the latest and greatest on the Red Sox.

Yankeemetrics: Fenway’s finest (Aug. 31-Sept. 2)

This guy is on fire.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
This guy is on fire. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Yankee wasteland in Boston
The Yankees had so many missed scoring opportunities in their 4-3 loss to the Red Sox on Monday night, it’s not worth recounting here. But know this: they left 14 men on base, their most stranded baserunners in any nine-inning game that they ended up losing by one run since Sept. 11, 2010 against the Rangers. And the last time they endured a loss like that against the Red Sox was July 17, 1996.

A plane trip to Boston couldn’t cool down the red-hot bat of Didi Gregorius, who had another four-hit night, and just missed being the hero when his ninth-inning fly ball was caught for the final out at the warning track by Rusney Castillo. Oh, and he did this: Sir Didi became the first Yankee shortstop with at least four hits in a game at Fenway Park since the immortal Rafael Santana on June 13, 1988. Yup, Mr. Jeter somehow never did that.

Carlos Beltran quietly reached a pretty cool milestone in this game with his 500th career double in the fifth inning. He’s now the only switch switch hitter in major-league history with at least 500 doubles, 300 homers and 300 stolen bases. The only other players to reach those totals (regardless of batting side) are Barry Bonds, A-Rod, Willie Mays and Andre Dawson.

13 times a charm
The Yankees overcame a really impressive performance by Rick Porcello (and his 5.47 ERA) on Tuesday night to win a pitchers’ duel, 3-1, against the Red Sox.

Porcello recorded 13 strikeouts in his eight innings of work, becoming just the third Red Sox pitcher in the last 100 seasons to reach that total against the Yankees. Roger Clemens struck out 13 Yankees on Sept. 30, 1987; Pedro Martinez got 13 punch outs against them on May 30, 2001 and then had 17 strikeouts in an epic one-hitter at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 10, 1999.

The New Jersey native also joined an even more exclusive club, though, when he got tagged with the loss. He is the only major-league pitcher in the last 100 years to lose a game against the Yankees despite getting 13-or-more strikeouts and allowing no more than one earned run.

Michael Pineda didn’t quite dominate like Porcello (only seven strikeouts), but his six innings of one-run, four-hit ball were plenty good enough for the win. It was also Pineda’s third straight start of no more than one run allowed against the Red Sox in Boston, a streak that is unprecedented for any Bronx Bomber since at least 1914. That’s right, Pineda is the first Yankee in more than a century to allow one run or fewer in three straight starts at Fenway Park.

The friendly confines of … Fenway?
It has been more than five decades since the Yankees enjoyed their trips to Fenway Park as much as they have over the last two seasons. With their win over the Red Sox on Wednesday, the Yankees have now captured the last six series played between these rivals in Boston. That’s their longest streak of series wins on the road against the Red Sox since taking seven in a row from 1956 to 1958.

The Yankees jumped out to an early double-digit lead, scoring eight runs in the second and then three more in the third. This was the first time ever that the Yankees scored at least 11 runs combined in the first three innings of a game at Fenway Park.

Red Sox rookie Henry Owens was on the mound for most of the damage and charged with seven runs in 1 2/3 innings. He’s the first Red Sox starter to give up at least seven runs while pitching fewer than two innings at Fenway against the Yankees since Luis Tiant (who was at the game!) on Sept. 29, 1976.

The young bats shined for the Yankees in this game, with three of their five home runs coming from Greg Bird (age 22), John Ryan Murphy (age 24) and Didi Gregorius (age 25). The last time the Yankees had at least three players age 25 or younger homer in the same game was Sept. 25, 1990 versus the Orioles.

But the biggest offensive star of the game was probably Stephen Drew, who went 3 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs. He’s the third Yankee No. 9 batter with at least three hits and three RBIs in a game at Fenway Park, joining Scott Brosius (June 19, 2000) and Pat Kelly (Aug. 15, 1995).

8/31 to 9/2 Series Preview: Boston Red Sox

This photo has a good W-L record. (Elsa/Getty)

The Yankees just swept the last place caliber Braves — Atlanta is in third place because the Marlins and Phillies are even worse, but that’s a last place roster, right? — and now they’re in Boston for a three-game set against the actually in last place Red Sox. The Bombers are 8-5 against the BoSox this season, including 5-1 at Fenway Park.

What Have The Red Sox Done Lately?

The Red Sox were just in New York for a three-game series with the Mets. They lost yesterday but won two of three in the series. The BoSox have won eight of their last dozen games overall, so they’re on a decent little late-season run at the moment. They’re still 60-70 with a -38 run differential, however.

Offense & Defense

Depending on your choice of metric, the Red Sox have been either an above-average offense team (4.53 runs per game) or a below-average offensive team (98 wRC+) this season. They’ve been much better in the second half (5.20 runs per game) and especially in August (6.04 runs per game). Boston is without 2B Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) and C Christian Vazquez (elbow) long-term, and both OF Hanley Ramirez (91 wRC+) and C Ryan Hanigan (92 wRC+) are day-to-day with shoulder and calf problems, respectively.

Mookie. (Presswire)
Mookie. (Presswire)

Manager John Farrell is currently away from the team receiving treatment for stage 1 lymphoma, so bench coach Torey Lovullo is serving as the interim manager the rest of the season. Lovullo’s lineup is still built around DH David Ortiz (128 wRC+), who has picked it up of late and is only six home runs away from 500 for his career. OF Mookie Betts (105 wRC+) and SS Xander Bogaerts (104 wRC+) have both had good seasons, and UTIL Brock Holt (104 wRC+) has cooled down considerably following his hot start.

OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (135 wRC+ in limited time) and OF Rusney Castillo (106 wRC+ in limited time) are currently flanking Betts while Hanley is out. OF Alejandro De Aza (102 wRC+) will see some platoon action as well. C Blake Swihart (92 wRC+) and 1B Travis Shaw (150 wRC+ in limited time) are getting lots of playing time right now because the Red Sox are pretty much out of it, so they might as well play the young guys. 3B Pablo Sandoval (84 wRC+) has been a massive disappointment and IF Josh Rutledge (105 wRC+ in very limited time) is the backup infielder.

The Red Sox do their best defensive work in the outfield, especially when Hanley sits in favor of Rusney or Bradley. The non-Hanley outfield features three above-average glovemen. Hanley is a total disaster though. Worst defensive outfielder I’ve ever seen. Sandoval has lost a lot of mobility at third. Bogaerts and Holt are solid up the middle and Shaw’s fine at first. Hanigan is a very good defensive catcher but you can run on Swihart (29% caught stealing rate). So I guess that all makes the Red Sox a good defensive club overall.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (7pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. BOS) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (vs. NYY)
Rodriguez, 22, came over from the Orioles in the Andrew Miller trade last year, and is part of Boston’s seemingly never-ending pipeline of pitching prospects who lack an out pitch. His 17.7% strikeout rate and 7.4% swing-and-miss rate are both below the league average. Anyway, Rodriguez has a 4.39 ERA (4.29 FIP) in 16 starts and 92.1 innings with that below-average strikeout rate as well as an above-average walk rate (6.9%), an average grounder rate (45.8%), and a below-average homer rate (1.17 HR/9). Weirdly, lefties (.388 wOBA) have hit him way harder than righties (.286 wOBA) early in his MLB career. Rodriguez has a big fastball, sitting mid-90s with his four-seamer and backing it up with mid-80s sliders and changeups. He uses the slider against lefties and the changeup against righties. The Yankees have seen Rodriguez twice this season, scoring two runs in 6.1 innings in July and two runs in seven innings in August.

Tuesday (7pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (vs. NYY)
Boy, this has not been a good season for the usually reliable Porcello, who has a 5.47 ERA (4.52 FIP) in 21 starts and 121.2 innings. His four-year, $82.5M extension doesn’t kick in until next season either. The 26-year-old from New Jersey recently missed four weeks with a triceps issue and has made one start since coming off the DL, tossing seven scoreless against the White Sox last time out. His strikeout (18.4%), grounder (43.4%), and homer (1.48 HR/9) numbers are all below-average, though his walk rate (5.1%) is quite good. Lefties (.373 wOBA) have smacked Porcello around this year. Righties too (.324 wOBA), just not as much. Porcello operates with low-90s two and four-seamers, using them to set up his mid-80s slider, low-80s changeup, and mid-70s curveball. The curve is his go-to secondary pitch, but he does use them all fairly regularly. Believe it or not, the Yankees have not faced Porcello at all this season. Not once.

Porcello. (Presswire)

Wednesday (4pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. BOS) vs. LHP Henry Owens (vs. NYY)
The 23-year-old Owens made his MLB debut against the Yankees a few weeks ago, and he now has a 4.03 ERA (4.19 FIP) in five starts and 29 innings. His strikeout rate (22.0%) is pretty good, but he walks too many (8.9%), doesn’t get enough grounders (31.0%), and doesn’t keep the ball in the park (1.24 HR/9). Lefties (.348 wOBA) have been more successful against Owens than righties (.308 wOBA) so far, but I’d ignore that entirely. He’s faced 22 left-handed batters as a big leaguer. That’s nothing. Owens has averaged 89.6 mph with his four-seamer according to PitchFX. An upper-70s changeup is his top secondary pitch, though he also uses mid-70s sliders and low-70s curveballs. Not a power arm, this one. The Yankees scored three runs in five innings against Owens in his big league debut.

Bullpen Status
Lovullo’s bullpen is not good and it hasn’t been good all season. As a unit, these guys have a 4.53 ERA (4.20 FIP) overall, and they’re currently without closer RHP Koji Uehara, who broke his wrist a few weeks ago when he was hit by a comebacker. RHP Jean Machi (5.21 ERA/4.45 FIP) is now closing with RHP Junichi Tazawa (3.79/3.04) setting up.

LHP Tommy Layne (4.14/3.75) is Lovullo’s go-to matchup lefty. LHP Craig Breslow (4.25/5.17), RHP Alexi Ogando (3.83/5.64), RHP Heath Hembree (4.85/4.50 in limited time), and LHP Robbie Ross Jr. (3.93/3.89) fill out the rest of the bullpen. I’m sure Boston will call up a bunch of extra arms when rosters expand Tuesday. Ross and Hembree both pitched yesterday, otherwise their bullpen is pretty fresh. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen, then head over to Over The Monster for the latest and greatest on the BoSox.

Yankeemetrics: The Future has arrived (August 4-6)

Luis, you're No. 1. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Luis, you’re No. 1. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Been here, done that
The Red Sox held the Yankees offense mostly in check for the first half of Tuesday’s game — but that just delayed the inevitable scoring explosion that was to come in the sixth and seventh innings. They scored 12 runs in those two frames — including nine in the seventh — en route to another blowout win.

It was the first time they scored nine runs in an inning since … oh yeah, last Tuesday against the Rangers. Time flies, eh? Less than two weeks ago, they’d hadn’t put up a nine-spot in any inning since the final series of the 2012 season against the Red Sox — and now they did it twice in a span of seven days.

Chris Young and Brian McCann were the big thumpers for the Yankees, both crushing three-run homers in the seventh to turn the game into a rout. It was the first time Yankee teammates hit a pair of three-run dingers in the same inning against the Red Sox since Melky Cabrera and Jorge Posada on August 6, 2009.

With the win over the Red Sox and their stud prospect, Henry Owens, who was pitching in his first career big-league game, the Yankees are now 9-1 over the past five seasons when an opposing team starts a pitcher making his major-league debut.

Merry Severino-mas!
Luis Severino, meet Hype; Hype, meet Luis Severino … The Yankees top prospect lived up to (and probably exceeded) all expectations in his major-league debut on Wednesday night, holding the Red Sox to just two runs on two hits with seven strikeouts in five innings.

His performance was arguably one of the most impressive by any Yankee making his first career start in franchise history. Onto the bullet points!

• Before Severino, no Yankee pitcher had ever struck out at least seven guys while giving up two-or-fewer hits in his major-league debut.
• At the age of 21 years and 166 days, Severino also became the youngest Yankee with at least seven strikeouts and no more than two hits allowed in a game.
• And he joined Mike Mussina and David Cone as the only Yankees in the last 50 years to have seven-plus strikeouts and surrender fewer than three baserunners against the Red Sox. Mussina’s gem was his near-perfect game on Sept. 2, 2001 and Cone’s effort came on Sept. 8, 1998.

And he did all of this against the Red Sox, at Yankee Stadium, in front of national television audience on ESPN. Poise, confidence, swagger, cojones, whatever you want to call it, Severino seems to have it.

Of course, this being baseball, the Yankee bats suddenly went ice-cold and Severino ended up with a loss, ruining what could have been a perfect night in the Bronx. He became the first Yankee starter to lose in his major-league debut despite allowing one earned run or fewer since Bob McGraw in 1917.

#TBT: Ace Sabathia
The Yankees took the rubber game against the Red Sox on Thursday night thanks to a vintage performance from CC Sabathia and a timely homer from a slumping Jacoby Ellsbury.

For Sabathia, it was the first time he had as many as eight strikeouts, and gave up as few as three hits and one run in a game since Sept. 21, 2012 against the A’s. When Jackie Bradley Jr. took ball four in the fifth inning, it was the first walk Sabathia had issued to a true left-handed batter this year. He entered the game having faced 108 lefties, the most of any pitcher that hadn’t walked one yet this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury — who entered the game 7-for-47 (.149) in his previous 12 games — was the unlikely offensive hero with a tie-breaking solo homer in the seventh inning. Over the last 30 years, Ellsbury and Bernie Williams (2003) are the only Yankee center fielders to hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later against Red Sox at Yankee Stadium

Andrew Miller sealed the win by punching out Rusney Castillo to end the game, earning his 24th save in 24 chances this season. He now has the third-longest streak of converted saves to begin a stint with a team in major-league history, behind only Brad Lidge (44 with Phillies in 2008-09) and Willie Hernandez (32 with Tigers in 1984).

8/4 to 8/6 Series Preview: Boston Red Sox

Home sweet home. The Yankees are back in the Bronx following that long ten-game road trip, and tonight they open a six-game homestand with the first of three against the Red Sox. The Yankees are 6-3 against the BoSox this year. Boston took two of three at Yankee Stadium in the second series of the season way back in April. Lots has changed since then.

What Have The Red Sox Done Lately?

Gosh, the Red Sox are bad. I mean really bad. They did take two of three from the Rays at home this past weekend, but otherwise they’ve lost 12 of 17 games since the All-Star break, including eight in a row at one point. The Sawx are 47-59 with a -65 run differential overall. They’re 13 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. Remember that series at Fenway Park right before the break? The Red Sox could have climbed to within 2.5 games of first place with a sweep. What a fall.

Offense & Defense

Overall, the Red Sox are averaging 4.21 runs per game with a team 95 wRC+, so their offense is nowhere close to what it was expected to be before the season. They are currently without OF Mookie Betts (concussion) and 2B Dustin Pedroia (hamstring), arguably their two best players. Neither is due to come off the DL this week. Also, 3B Pablo Sandoval (86 wRC+) is day-to-day after taking a pitch to the arm over the weekend.

Ortiz. (Presswire)
Ortiz. (Presswire)

The big name in manager John Farrell’s lineup is still DH David Ortiz (115 wRC+), who has been much better in recent weeks but is no longer the hitter he was the last few years. The same applies to 1B Mike Napoli (90 wRC+), who has always seemed to like hitting in the new Yankee Stadium. UTIL Brock Holt (109 wRC+) has done the opposite of Ortiz and Napoli — he started crazy hot and has cooled off. Boston’s most effective hitter right now is SS Xander Bogaerts (108 wRC+), who hits for average (.319) and not much else (3.9 BB% and .096 ISO).

OF Hanley Ramirez (105 wRC+) is now joined by OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (14 wRC+ in limited time) and OF Rusney Castillo (71 wRC+ in limited time) in the outfield thanks to the Betts injury and the Shane Victorino trade. C Blake Swihart (66 wRC+) and C Ryan Hanigan (90 wRC+) are the catching tandem. The bench features IF Josh Rutledge (16 wRC+ in extremely limited time), UTIL Travis Shaw (214 wRC+ in extremely limited time), and OF Alejandro De Aza (132 wRC+).

The Red Sox defense isn’t particularly strong. Bradley is excellent in center, Castillo and De Aza are good in the corners, and Bogaerts and Holt are reliable on the middle infield. Sandoval and Hanley have been disasters. Ramirez is probably the worst defensive outfielder I have ever seen, and Sandoval’s mobility seems to be gone. Napoli is fine at first. Swihart and Hanigan have both been average-ish at throwing out runners. StatCorner says Hanigan is an above-average pitch-framer, Swihart about average. Hit it to Hanley.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (7pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. BOS) vs. LHP Henry Owens (MLB Debut)
This start was supposed to go to Rick Porcello, who is having a miserable season (5.81 ERA and 4.66 FIP). He was just placed on the DL with a triceps issue over the weekend, however. Owens, 23, will make his big league debut tonight instead. He has a 3.16 ERA (3.68 FIP) in 122.1 Triple-A innings this season with a good strikeout rate (20.6%) and a few too many walks (11.2%). It’s worth noting Owens has a 40.7% ground ball rate in Triple-A, which is unusually low for a top pitching prospect. (Phil Hughes had a 60%+ grounder rate in the minors, for example.) Baseball America ranked Owens as the 44th best prospect in baseball before the season and said he works in the 89-92 mph range with his fastball, backing it up with a great changeup and an improving curveball. Owens walks a fine line — he has to get ahead with his average fastball to set up that changeup, but his fastball command is not great. The Yankees could find themselves in lots of hitter’s counts tonight if they’re patient and Owens shows some first start jitters.

Wednesday (7pm ET): RHP Luis Severino (MLB Debut!) vs. RHP Steven Wright (vs. NYY)
Woooo Severino! The Yankees will call up their top pitching prospect to make his big league debut tomorrow night. That’ll be fun. Wright, on the other hand, is a 30-year-old knuckleballer with a 4.53 ERA (5.23 FIP) in 59.2 innings covering seven starts and seven relief appearances this year. Like most knuckleballers, he has a low strikeout rate (15.2%), a low ground ball rate (43.0%), and a sky high home run rate (1.66 HR/9). His walk rate (7.8%) is pretty good considering the entire point of throwing a knuckleball is creating unpredictable break. Wright’s platoon split is relatively small (.338 vs. .315 wOBA in favor of righties) and he throws his knuckler in the low-70s. He throws the pitch over 90% of the time. The rest of the time he throws the requisite show-me low-80s fastball. The Yankees did see Wright earlier this year — he allowed two runs in five innings in that 19-inning game way back in April.

Wright's fingertip ball. (Presswire)
Wright’s fingertip ball. (Presswire)

Thursday (7pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. BOS) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (vs. NYY)
Rodriguez, 22, has a 4.34 ERA (4.14 FIP) in 12 starts and 66.1 innings since being called up a few weeks ago, which is a nice little reminder Severino isn’t guaranteed to dominate right away just because he has great minor league numbers. Rodriguez has very average peripherals (20.1 K%, 8.6 BB%, 42.1 GB%, 1.09 HR/9) and has been more effective against righties (.294 wOBA) than lefties (.329 wOBA). He’s a three-pitch pitcher, using his mid-90s four-seamer a ton, more than 70% of the time. Mid-80s changeups and sliders are Rodriguez’s other two offerings. The Yankees saw the young southpaw right before the All-Star break, scoring two runs in 6.2 innings.

Bullpen Status
I was surprised to see the Red Sox hold on to closer RHP Koji Uehara (2.33 ERA/2.33 FIP) at the trade deadline, but I guess no one is eager to pick up a 40-year-old reliever owed $9M next year. RHP Junichi Tazawa (2.93/2.41) is Uehara’s primary setup man and has had a rough few weeks of late. At this point LHP Craig Breslow (3.24/5.12) is Farrell’s go-to matchup southpaw.

The rest of Boston’s bullpen includes RHP Alexi Ogando (3.88/5.33), RHP Robbie Ross (3.98/4.07), RHP Ryan Cook (10.38/3.77 in very limited time), and noted farter RHP Jean Machi (5.20/4.49). The Red Sox had an off-day yesterday, so their bullpen is as fresh as can be in early-August. The Yankees were off yesterday as well, but check out our Bullpen Workload page anyway. Then head over to Over The Monster for the latest and greatest on the BoSox.

(Video via @iamjoonlee)