Game 133: Severino Friday

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees are back home and they’ll be home for a while. This is the start of a ten-game homestand against three division rivals, all of whom have some sort of postseason aspirations. The Rays may be ten games back in the AL East, but they are only 4.5 games back of a wildcard spot. October isn’t out of reach yet.

Young Luis Severino will be on the mound tonight for his sixth big league start and his third at home. The Yankees are 2-3 in his five starts but that’s not Severino’s fault. He has a 2.17 ERA. They just don’t score for him. The Yankees have scored 15 runs in his five starts — six in one game! — and only eight when Severino was actually on the mound. They owe him. Here is Tampa’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. DH Alex Rodriguez
  6. 1B Greg Bird
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Luis Severino

It is cloudy in New York but there is no rain in the forecast. It’s pretty cool too. Temperatures have been in the low-80s all day and will dip into the 70s tonight. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: CC Sabathia (knee) threw approximately 60 pitches in a simulated game this afternoon with a heavier brace and felt “great.” The Yankees will see how he feels in the coming days, and if all goes well, he’ll start Wednesday … in case you missed it earlier, Mark Teixeira (leg) was placed on the 15-day DL. It was a procedural move to get Nick Rumbelow back on the roster before his ten days were up. Teixeira, by the way, is still on crutches but said he “100%” expects to play again this season.

Yankees place Mark Teixeira on 15-day DL, recall Nick Rumbelow

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees have placed Mark Teixeira on the 15-day DL with a right shin bone bruise, the team announced. The move is retroactive is August 27th. Nick Rumbelow was called up from Triple-A Scranton in a corresponding move.

This is nothing more than a procedural move. Placing Teixeira on the DL allows them to bring Rumbelow back before his ten days in the minors are up. Rumbelow was sent down following last Wednesday’s game and was not eligible to be recalled until Sunday, so this move gets him back two days early.

Teixeira has been sidelined by the bone bruise for nearly three weeks now, but he did play in two games last week (started one, pinch-hit in the other), so they couldn’t backdate the DL stint any further. He’s expected to miss at least another two weeks anyway. The DL move won’t delay his return.

Rumbelow has a 2.79 ERA (3.55 FIP) in 9.2 innings across multiple call-ups this year. The Yankees now have an eleven-man bullpen thanks to expanded rosters, and it’ll become a 12-man bullpen when Nick Goody‘s ten days are up. He was sent down the same day as Rumbelow and will be back this weekend.

Mark Teixeira’s injury will be a significant obstacle down the stretch

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Prior to last night’s win, the Yankees got some bad news about their 2015 MVP, or maybe I should say bad news that could have been a lot worse. Mark Teixeira, who left the team Monday and returned to New York to have tests on his shin, does not have any kind of fracture. His bone bruise, however, has not gotten better and he will be on crutches for at least a few days. Brian Cashman said it’ll be at least two weeks until Teixeira returns.

“It just hasn’t been healing in any way, shape or form, and they’ve ruled out any other complications. It’s a timing mechanism and it’s taking a hell of a lot longer than we would have expected,” said Cashman to Wally Matthews. “The biggest concern was a stress fracture, but that’s been ruled out. You would have expected to see some sort of improvement on the bone contusion healing process, and that has not happened. Now he’ll probably be two weeks [before] we’ll get him going.”

Teixeira suffered the injury on a fluke play. All he did was foul a pitch into his shin, which is the kind of thing that happens countless times each season. This one just happened to catch Teixeira in the right spot — or wrong spot, I guess — and he’s been out more than two weeks. The Yankees never did place him on the DL because they thought it would be a day-to-day issue. Obviously that has not been the case. (Rosters are expanded now, so there’s no sense in placing him on the DL at this point.)

If nothing else, at least Tuesday’s news gives us a bit of a reprieve from the daily updates and wondering whether today will be the day Teixeira returns to the lineup. He’s at least two weeks away now. There is never a good time for an injury like this, but right now is an especially bad time given the AL East and wildcard races, and the fact the season ends in the month. There’s a non-zero chance this bone bruise ends Teixeira’s season.

Teixeira is the Yankees’ most irreplaceable player because he’s elite on both sides of the ball. Even with his early-August slump, he is still hitting .255/.357/.548 (145 wRC+) with 31 home runs overall, including a 155 wRC+ against righties and a 118 wRC+ against lefties. Teixeira’s a switch-hitter who has an impact from both sides of the plate. He also plays a mean first base, and you never truly appreciate great first base defense until you don’t get it. The only thing Teixeira doesn’t do well is run. He’s been great at everything else this year.

The Yankees don’t have that guy anymore. Teixeira’s two-way impact is gone. Greg Bird has gotten a chance to sink or swim at first base since Teixeira went gone down, and while playing the kids is exciting, Bird has been a substantial downgrade. He hasn’t hit a whole lot (90 wRC+) and the drop off on defense is painfully obvious. I like Bird and have been especially impressed by his approach. He has a good chance to be the first baseman of the future. It’s also okay to acknowledge he has been a detriment since being pressed into everyday duty.

So now, with Teixeira out, it’s up the other veterans to pick up the slack. To me that means basically everyone in the lineup other than Bird and Didi Gregorius, though Didi has picked up the pace of late. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner need to be gangbusters atop the lineup. Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann need to continue to produce and Chase Headley has to sustain his second half surgery. Alex Rodriguez? The longer his slump goes on the less likely it is the Yankees win the division. Pretty simple.

No one player makes a team, not even someone as good as Mike Trout, but Teixeira’s injury is a significant blow to the Yankees. They rely on him heavily both defensively and offensively, in the middle of the lineup against both righties and lefties. Katie explained yesterday just how huge Teixeira has been in high-leverage spots this year. That clutch bat is gone now. Not having Teixeira is a major obstacle the Yankees will have to overcome these next few weeks to return to the postseason.

Game 131: Big Mike in Boston

BIG MIKE IS HERE

Welcome to September. The air is crisp, the leaves are looking a little less green each day, and the dog days of summer are over. This is the stretch run. The final 32 games of the season will determine whether the Yankees win the AL East, settle for a wildcard spot, or miss the postseason entirely. Crunch time, baby. There are no more meaningless games.

The Yankees dropped last night’s series opener to the Red Sox because no one could get a damn hit with the bases loaded, but that was August, this is September. A new month and something of a fresh start, which the Yankees desperately need because August did not go well. They went 14-14 and lost 7.5 games (!) in the standings. Not good. Win tonight, start the final month off on the right foot. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. DH Alex Rodriguez
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 1B Greg Bird
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Michael Pineda

Another great weather day in Boston. Sunny and on the cool side with temperatures in the upper-70s. Autumnal. This evening’s game will begin just after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira (leg) had an MRI that showed the bone bruise was more significant than the Yankees initially realized. There is no fracture, but Teixeira will be on crutches for a few days. There is no timetable for his return.

Roster Moves: In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees called up eight players on the first day of expanded rosters. Two others lost their 40-man roster spot. Here are all the moves. I’m not repeating ’em all here. Wally Matthews has all the new uniform numbers, if you’re interested.

The real impact of losing Mark Teixeira’s bat

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

The news just keeps getting worse and worse for Mark Teixeira and the Yankees. Joe Girardi announced Monday that Teixeira was sent back to New York for further tests on his badly bruised leg. That means Tuesday night’s matchup with the Red Sox will be the 13th time in 14 games since the injury that the Yankees won’t have their leading home run guy and most explosive power hitter in the starting lineup. Even worse, there is no definitive answer about when, if at all, Teixeira will return. As a wise man once said …

girardi

Sure, the home runs and extra-base hits provide a ton of value, but Teixeira’s impact on the Yankees’ offense goes beyond just his ability to hit the ball really far, really high and really hard. It is his outstanding performance in the most high-pressure plate appearances that sets Teixeira apart from the rest of the Yankee hitters — and makes his bat nearly impossible to replace.

There are a few ways we can isolate “high-pressure” situations in a baseball game. First, there is the concept of leverage, which is basically an attempt to quantify how tense and suspenseful any single at-bat is in a game. For example, there is a lot more on the line — in terms of winning or losing — when a batter steps to the plate trailing by a run in the ninth inning with two outs, compared to a similar at-bat in the third inning or if you are ahead by five runs. In high-leverage situations, Teixeira owns a team-best 1.009 OPS and .418 on-base percentage this season.

high lev2

Need a big hit when the Yankees are leading by one run, tied, or have the potential tying run on base, at bat, or on deck? Teixeira is your man. He is hitting a whopping .311/.436/.600 in those “late and close” plate appearances, ranking first among Yankee regulars in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS for those situations.

In fact, no player on the Yankees has delivered more game-changing hits than Teixeira. When the game is tied, Teixeira has a ridiculous line of .310/.394/.655, good for a 1.049 OPS that is easily the best on the team. And he leads them with 26 hits that either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead this season, including a team-high 15 home runs.

Remember that super-important victory against the Blue Jays on August 15, which guaranteed the Yankees a series win in Toronto? Masahiro Tanaka dominated the headlines with his one-run, complete game gem, but it was Teixeira who came through with the game-winning, go-ahead home run.

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He is also what you might call the hitting version of an “ace” for the Yankees, a guy that can step up and stop the bleeding when the team really needs a win. In games following a Yankee loss this season, Teixeira has the highest OPS (.982), slugging percentage (.582) and on-base percentage (.401) on the team, and each of his rate stats are higher in those games than overall this season.

The Yankees have shown this season that they are capable of beating up on bad pitching even without Teixeira (see the 38 runs scored in three games this weekend against the Braves’ staff, which has the fifth-worst ERA in the majors). But in Monday’s loss to the Red Sox — when the Yankees wasted numerous scoring chances and left 14 men on base — we also saw how a Teixeira-less lineup could really hurt the Yankees down the stretch.

As the final month of the season gets underway and the Yankees entrenched in a heated division race with the Blue Jays, the games are only going to get more intense, more stressful and take on even greater importance — the exact situations where they need Teixeira’s clutch bat the most.

Game 130: Back in Boston

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

These late-season series with the Red Sox used to have a lot more pizzazz, you know? That was back when both teams were in contention. The last few years either the Yankees or Red Sox — or both, in the case of last season — were out of the race, and the games didn’t have the same intensity they once did. Don’t get the wrong, the games are still pretty intense, just not as intense as they were seven or eight years ago.

Anyway, this season the Red Sox are out of contention while the Yankees remain atop the wildcard standings and are a good series away from being in first place in the AL East. They took care of business in Atlanta over the weekend, but the Red Sox are better than the Braves, so this series won’t be easy. It never is when these two teams meet. Here is Boston’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. RF Carlos Beltran
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 1B Greg Bird
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Brendan Ryan
    RHP Ivan Nova

Nice day in Boston. A little cloudy but not much, and there’s no rain the forecast. It’s warm too. Temperatures are in the mid-80s and won’t drop into the 70s until late tonight. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and ESPN nationally. Yanks-Sox is still Grade-A ESPN fodder. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: Mark Teixeira (leg) is not feeling better so the Yankees sent him back to New York for tests. He’s out for this series. “We’re not happy with where he’s at. Just trying to get him healthy,” said Joe Girardi. The Yankees really Metsed this one by not putting him on the DL … CC Sabathia threw approximately 30 pitches in the bullpen today. It was his first time throwing off a mound since landing on the DL. He’ll likely throw one more bullpen session before facing hitters. Also, Brian Cashman said he expects Sabathia to return as a starter, not a reliever.

Game 129: Finish the Sweep

There's a lot going on in this photo. (Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees have played well for long stretches at times this season, and today they’ll try to earn their eighth sweep of at least three games in 2015. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Eight sweeps? The 2013-14 Yankees had 13 sweeps total, and the 2009 Yankees had eleven sweeps, so I guess eight isn’t a ton. Kind of a normal amount.

Nathan Eovaldi, who is at least in the conversation for staff ace right now, will be on the mound this afternoon looking to clinch that sweep. The Yankees have taken care of business against the Braves these last two days, but the series isn’t over yet, there’s still one more win sitting out there. Here is Atlanta’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Greg Bird
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It has been raining for much of the morning in Atlanta, but the forecast says the showers are supposed to clear out by game time. Then they’ll come back later this afternoon, hopefully after the game ends. We’ll see. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:35pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: CC Sabathia (knee) received a cortisone shot Thursday and played catch both Thursday and Saturday. There is no firm timetable for Sabathia to throw off a mound. Just catch for now … nothing new to pass along about Mark Teixeira (leg). He’s on antibiotics to get rid of the inflammation and won’t do anything until it clears out.