Game 108: Beat the Mets

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Despite trading away their best hitter and two of their three best relievers in recent days, the Yankees have taken two of the first three games of the Subway Series, and that is pretty darn cool. They have a chance to clinch the four-game series win tonight while remaining reasonably close to the wildcard race. Close enough to keep me interested, anyway. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. 3B Chase Headley
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. DH Gary Sanchez
  8. 1B Rob Refsnyder
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

Pretty great weather in New York today. Nice and sunny but not hot. In fact, it’s a bit breezy. I love it. Great night for a game. Tonight’s series finale is set to begin at bit at 7pm ET. You can watch on WPIX and SNY locally, and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Roster Update: Chad Green has been sent down to Triple-A Scranton and Johnny Barbato has been called up, the Yankees announced. Joe Girardi confirmed Luis Severino will start in Green’s place in five days. Green will continue to work as a starter with the RailRiders.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira‘s shin is “pretty sore” after getting hit by a pitch last night. He’s going for precautionary x-rays and no other tests are scheduled.

Olney: Qualifying offer estimated at $16.7M this offseason

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

According to Buster Olney, the qualifying offer for the upcoming offseason is estimated at $16.7M. That’s up from $15.8M last season and $15.3M the offseason before. The QO is a one-year deal set at the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball, and the deadline to make the offer is five days after the end of the World Series. Players then have seven days to accept or reject.

The Yankees only have one serious QO candidate: Carlos Beltran. He’s hitting .305/.347/.548 (134 wRC+) with 21 homers in 95 games this season, though his defense leaves much to be desired. I don’t think the Yankees should make Beltran the QO because he’ll probably accept it — who is giving a soon-to-be 40-year-old free agent $16.7M, even across two years? — and I don’t see that as a good thing for the reasons I outlined yesterday.

Mark Teixeira and Ivan Nova are New York’s only two other impending free agents, and based on what we heard earlier today, Nova will be traded prior to Monday’s deadline. Teixeira has been beyond awful this season, hitting .190/.270/.325 (59 wRC+) with nine homers in 71 games around a knee problem. A year ago at this time he looked like a QO candidate. Now? Now he can’t get off the team fast enough.

It’s also possible for CC Sabathia to become a free agent after the season, though that would require him to suffer a shoulder injury that would void his $25M vesting option for 2017. A healthy Sabathia is not a QO candidate at this point of his career. Sabathia with a shoulder injury? No chance. With Aroldis Chapman gone, Beltran is the Yankees’ only QO candidate. We’ll see what happens with him.

The QO offer entitles the team to a supplemental first round draft pick should the player reject the offer and sign elsewhere as a free agent. Signing a QO free agent means forfeiting your highest unprotected draft pick. It’s worth noting players who accept the QO can not be traded until June 1st of the following season, so if your plan is to make Beltran the offer and trade him if he accepts, it won’t fly. At least not immediately.

It’s worth noting the new upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement could change the QO system and I think that’ll happen, but chances are it’ll be minor tweaks rather than an overhaul. If MLB and the MLBPA reach an agreement before the end of the World Series, then the new system will presumably take effect. If not, the current QO system stays in place until the two sides announce any changes. The current CBA expires December 1st.

Yankeemetrics: The buy-or-sell rollercoaster [July 22-24]

(Getty)
(Getty)

Giant victory
Facing yet another first-place team on this make-or-break homestand, the Yankees pulled off a stunning victory over the Giants on Friday night. The Yankees entered this series with a 3-7 record in Interleague play this season, the worst in the American League and second-worst in the majors ahead of only the Reds (4-11).

Masahiro Tanaka outdueled Madison Bumgarner in a battle of aces, firing six shutout innings against the Giants. Tanaka has dominated NL competition during his major-league career, compiling a 1.88 ERA with 59 strikeouts and just six walks in nine Interleague starts. That’s the third-best Interleague ERA among active pitchers with at least seven starts, and the best for any Yankee pitcher that has ever made more than one start during Interleague play.

Tanaka has put together an ace-like resume this year, but one narrative clouding his season performance has been his sub-par numbers on normal rest.

He entered this game with a 5.33 ERA in eight starts on four days rest, a bloated figure compared to his 3.15 season ERA. The 2.18 difference in ERA between his 5.33 normal rest ERA and 3.15 overall ERA ranked fourth-highest among the 143 pitchers with at least five starts on four days rest this season.

Aroldis Chapman’s flame-throwing feats are becoming more and more ridiculous every day. On Friday night, 15 of his 17 pitches were fastballs, and each of the heaters was clocked at 100 mph or faster, with a whopping seven pitches topping out at 104 mph.

That’s now 11 pitches of at least 104 mph in his last two appearances combined (he had four on July 18), an unprecedented total considering that only three pitches of 104 or more mph had ever been recorded in the nine seasons of Statcast data (since 2008) before this week.

Chapman averaged a ridiculous 103.2 mph on his fastball against the Giants, the highest average fastball velocity in a game by any pitcher since 2008, per Statcast.

Bronx bummer
Less than 24 hours after celebrating one of their most uplifting wins of the season, the Yankees crashed back down to Earth with one of their most frustrating and crushing losses, falling 2-1 in 12 innings to the Giants on Saturday.

nova fist pump
(Getty)

Not only did they lose after playing a dozen innings in the brutal heat, but they also failed numerous times in the clutch (went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position) and wasted a gem from their fifth starter (seven innings and one run allowed by Ivan Nova).

And to pile on the depressing facts, they whiffed on a chance to reach three games over .500 for the first time this season, and — because the Blue Jays lost earlier in the day — could have pulled to within three games in the loss column of the second wild card spot if they had somehow won the game.

Instead, the Yankees’ momentum was halted and they suffered yet another disheartening defeat in a season filled with far too many of them already.

It was just the third time the Yankees have lost an Interleague game at home that lasted at least 12 innings. The others were a 6-2 loss on April 18, 2013 to the Diamondbacks and a 2-1 loss on June 12, 2001 against the Expos (both games went 12 innings, too).

This isn’t the first time Nova has been stellar against the Giants; he threw a six-hit shutout in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2013 in his only other appearance against them. He now owns a shiny 0.56 career ERA against the Giants, the lowest mark among active pitchers that have made more than one start versus the franchise (LOL, small sample sizes).

(AP)
(AP)

Yankees Last (home)Stand
The Yankees seemingly staved off an imminent fire sale for yet another day by capping off this make-or-break homestand with a solid series win against the first-place Giants.

They climbed back up to two games above .500, tying their high-water mark of the season. It marked the 33rd time the Yankees finished a game with a record within two games of the magical .500 mark, the second-longest streak of that kind in franchise history, per the Elias Sports Bureau. The only longer one was a 42-game streak in 2008.

Carlos Beltran opened the scoring in the first inning with his 413th career home run, passing Alfonso Soriano for sole possession of 52nd place on the all-time list. Up next is Darrell Evans with 414.

Mark Teixeira added a solo shot of his own in the next frame, his 200th homer in pinstripes. He is just the fourth Yankee switch-hitter to reach that milestone, and also the fourth first baseman in franchise history with at least 200 homers. His fellow Yankee switch-hitters in the 200-homer club are Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Mickey Mantle; the other first baseman are Jason Giambi, Don Mattingly and Lou Gehrig.

Nathan Eovaldi‘s erratic season has mirrored the Yankees’ inconsistency, so it was little surprise that he delivered a standout performance (two runs allowed in 6 2/3 innings) on the same day the Yankees actually looked like a contender. What is surprising is that one of his best outings came against the Giants, a team that he’s historically struggled against.

Eovaldi entered the game with a 13.30 ERA in five starts versus San Francisco, the second-highest ERA by any active MLB pitcher against a single opponent (min. five starts). The highest mark is by Dana Eveland, who boasts a 16.11 ERA in 10 games (five starts) against the Red Sox.

Game 92: Rain, rain, go away

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees and Orioles are supposed to begin their four-game series in Yankee Stadium tonight, but I gotta tell ya, the forecast doesn’t look too promising and the sky is scary. It’s been dark and cloudy most of the afternoon. There’s rain in the forecast and I received a severe thunderstorm warning notification on my phone, so yeah.

Believe it or not, this is the O’s first visit to Yankee Stadium this season, so the two teams will have plenty of time to play a makeup game if it does get rained out. In fact, the Yankees and Orioles wrap up the season with three games in the Bronx. Maybe they’d push the makeup game back until then and only play it if it’ll impact the postseason race. I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. DH Alex Rodriguez
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 2B Starlin Castro
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. 1B Rob Refsnyder
    RHP Ivan Nova

Like I said, the forecast is not good tonight. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES, though who knows if there will be a delay or anything. We’ll see. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira (foot) remains day-to-day and is receiving treatment. He fouled a pitch off his foot over the weekend … Conor Mullee (hand) played catch today and could throw a bullpen Wednesdays. He’s out with nerve irritation.

Roster Move: The Yankees activated Mason Williams (shoulder) off the 60-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. They had an open 40-man roster spot after cutting Ike Davis loose, so no other moves were required.

Game 91: A win is a loss and a loss is a win

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
(Adam Hunger/Getty)

Does anyone out there still believe the Yankees are good enough to get back into the postseason race? I’m not even talking about being good enough to actually get to the playoffs. I mean being good enough to play meaningful games in September. Everyone is saying the Yankees need to play better in the second half, and yet here they are, playing poorly and on the verge of being swept by the Red Sox at home. At this point of the season, a loss is a win and a win is a loss. Sell sell sell. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Alex Rodriguez
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 2B Starlin Castro
  8. 1B Rob Refsnyder
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Another hot and sunny one in New York today. The weather would be really great if it were, like, ten degrees cooler and 50% less humid. Tonight’s game starts at 8pm ET and you can watch on ESPN. Try to enjoy.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira (foot) is heading for a CT scan even though an x-ray came back negative yesterday. He fouled a pitch off his foot yesterday. (Update: The CT scan came back negative and Teixeira is day-to-day.)

Injury Updates: Beltran, Teixeira, Mitchell

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Today is the final day off the All-Star break. The Yankees open the second half with the first of three against the Red Sox tomorrow night. Their next 13 games are against contending teams (Red Sox, Orioles, Giants, Astros), so that’s going to be pretty fun. Here are some miscellaneous injury updates.

Beltran’s hamstring is 100%

Two nights ago, when Carlos Beltran played two innings in right field during the All-Star Game, it was his first appearance in the outfield in exactly a week. He served as the DH in the final five games of the first half because of a balky hamstring. After the game, Beltran told Joel Sherman he is 100%. “I want to give (Joe Girardi) the ability to be flexible with the DH role,” he said.

Beltran, 39, has had minor knee and hamstring problems this year. He did not have to be placed on the DL either time, but the knee had to be drained and the hamstring meant no outfield for a week. Beltran’s importance to the Yankees in the second half can’t be overstated. If they’re going to contend, they need him in the lineup because he’s their best hitter. If they’re going to sell, they want him healthy to get the maximum return.

Teixeira receives another knee injection

Following Sunday’s first half finale, Mark Teixeira received another lubrication in his right knee, reports Mark Feinsand. It was a scheduled injection and he’ll get a few more in the second half. “It’s important that we have him,” said Girardi. “If it’s four out of five days, five out of six, that’s pretty good. I have to check with him all the time.”

The 36-year-old Teixeira sat out Saturday’s game as the Yankees work to keep the knee in check and keep Teixeira on the field. He’s yet to play more than four games in a row since coming off the DL, and I don’t think Girardi will push him much more than that. Teixeira will need surgery at some point. He’s hoping the regular lubrication injections will allow him to push the surgery back until the offseason.

Mitchell resumes running and throwing

Bryan Mitchell, who managed to break his toe covering first base in Spring Training, has starting running and throwing, Girardi told George King. “He has been throwing and he has started to run a little bit so I think it’s possible we get him back, but (I’m) not necessarily counting on it,” said Girardi. “His rehab has gone really well.”

Mitchell, 25, had surgery on the toe in early-April, and the original timetable put his return at four months. That would put him on target to be back sometime in August. The Yankees are not going to push Mitchell hard. I know a toe injury sounds silly, but the last thing they want him to do is change his mechanics to compensate for the toe — that could happen subconsciously — and hurt his arm.

Trade Deadline Notes: Giants, Teixeira, Beltran, Miller

(Denis Poroy/Getty)
(Denis Poroy/Getty)

The trade deadline is now two weeks and five days away, and the Yankees should be leaning towards selling at this point. Should is the key word there. This team doesn’t always do things it should do. Anyway, here are some trade deadline notes.

Yankees don’t see Giants as trade match

According to Hank Schulman, the Yankees don’t see the Giants as a good match for a potential Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman trade. San Francisco definitely needs bullpen help, but their farm system is thin and they’re contending, so it’s unlikely they’ll deal off their big league roster. I wrote a little more about that a few weeks ago. Of course, this could all be posturing. The Yankees may be trying to put some pressure on the Giants to up their offer.

Teixeira not ready to discuss no-trade clause

When asked about possibly waiving his no-trade rights at the deadline, Mark Teixeira danced around the question, writes Ken Davidoff. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” he said. Teixeira has full no-trade protection through five-and-ten rights at this point, so his contract is irrelevant. I know he’s stunk this year and it sounds silly to talk about him as a trade candidate, but Mike Morse had a 63 wRC+ and was traded twice at the deadline last year. If some team has a need at first base and is looking for some pop, getting Teixeira on the cheap could be mighty appealing. I don’t think he’s going anywhere — nor do I think he’d agree to a trade — but he’s not untradeable. Pretty much no one is.

Beltran open to trade to NL team

Unlike Teixeira, Carlos Beltran does not have a full no-trade clause. He has limited no-trade protection, and he told Davidoff the 15-team no-trade list includes “a little bit of both” leagues without disclosing the teams. Beltran did say he’s open to going to the NL though, even though he won’t be able to DH. “Why not? DH is great, but I played all my life in the outfield, so there’s nothing wrong with it. I just want to play baseball, man,” he said. There, figure to be a lot of outfielders on the trade market at the deadline (Melvin Upton, Josh Reddick, Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, etc.), but none come close to matching Beltran’s combination of 2016 production and pedigree.

Yankees told Miller he’ll be traded if they get blown away

From the “this applies to everyone” department: the Yankees have informed Miller they will trade him at the deadline if someone blows them away with an offer, reports Chelsea James. Like I said, that applies to every player ever. I guess it’s notable the Yankees were compelled to tell Miller that’s the case, but that might not be uncommon. Non-news, really. Miller is awesome and signed affordably for another two years. Keeping him is definitely a viable strategy even with the Yankees in need of more young talent. Miller is not “just a reliever.” Kirby Yates is just a reliever. Miller’s a high impact player.