Detroit’s “All Wet”…
It sounds as though it will be a soggy Saturday and, unfortunately, Sunday for the Yankees. Rain is forecasted the entire day with no potential breaks in the weather. The first game of the double-header planned for today has already been postponed but it will most likely be two games lost to Mother Nature.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox keep winning. The Sox lead the AL East by three games over the Toronto Blue Jays after their destruction of the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, 10-3. The Yankees are five games back. For the Red Sox, it is the best start (12-2) in franchise history. They are averaging 6.14 runs per game with team ERA of 3.07. By comparison, the Yankees are scoring an average of 5.5 runs per game with team ERA of 4.78. Pitching, pitching, pitching.
With the postponement of at least one of today’s games, the Yankees will be forced to give up an off-day for the makeup. Depending upon the status of tonight’s schedule game, the Yankees will play at least nine and possibly eighteen innings of work on a day that should have been a day of rest. Mother Nature is not kind. Today’s games in Cleveland, OH and Minneapolis, MN have already been postponed.
|Credit: The late great Charles Schulz|
Here are the common days off for the Yankees and Tigers. I have not analyzed the impact on the Tigers, but some of these would be very difficult for the Yankees. Best case would be a flight path near Detroit, however, none are ideal. It’s a bad situation all around for the Yankees.
- Thursday, May 24th: After finishing road game in Arlington, TX on the way home.
- Monday, June 4th: Traveling between Baltimore, MD and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- Monday, June 11th: Between games in New York at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.
- Monday, June 18th: Between two home series at Yankee Stadium.
- Monday, July 30th: Between two home series at Yankee Stadium.
- Monday, August 20th: After finishing home stand, en route to Miami, FL.
- Thursday, September 6th: Between road games in Oakland, CA and Seattle, WA.
- Thursday, September 13th: After finishing another road game in Minneapolis on way home.
I guess it could be worse. The Yankees could be playing like the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were pre-season World Series favorites. The Arizona Diamondbacks, with or without Brandon Drury, have the Dodgers’ number. The D-Back crushed the Dodgers yesterday, 9-1, to drop the Dodger Blue to 4-9 and six and a half games behind in the NL West standings. Arizona’s victory was their eleventh straight regular season win over the Dodgers. The D-Backs still feel the sting of the NLDS sweep by Los Angeles last October, but in the regular season, they own the Dodgers.
|Photo Credit: Associated Press (Jae C Hong)|
The San Diego Padres added to their collection of former Yankees yesterday. Their latest addition was former Yankees reliever Tyler Webb, claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Yankees traded Webb to Milwaukee last year for first baseman Garrett Cooper (who has since been dealt to the Miami Marlins and is currently on the disabled list). I always liked Webb, a lefty, and I hope that he finds success in San Diego with Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell and Jose Pirela.
Nice job by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders yesterday. They survived a four-run deficit to the Charlotte Knights (White Sox affiliate) and one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, Michael Kopech. In the seventh inning, after Kopech had departed with the Knights leading 5-1, the RailRiders struck for six runs on their way to the 10-5 victory. The RailRiders are 6-3 and share the International League North division lead with the Syracuse Chiefs (Nationals). I don’t want to take away anything from the other RailRiders who keyed the win (newly acquired L.J. Mazzilli had a bases-clearing double) but we’re clearly under a Gleyber Torres Watch right now. Torres was 2-for-5, with a run-scoring double during the six-run seventh inning. He had two doubles after Kopech had left the game and three RBI’s, and scored once. Torres is 14-for-36 with .389/.410/.583 batting line and .994 OPS in nine games. The dude’s on fire and is ready to take his game to the Bronx. We’ll see later this week if the Yankees make the move to bring the future star to Yankee Stadium or continue to wait a few more weeks. I think most Yankee fans are ready to see Gleyber in the Yankees lineup next Thursday.
|Photo Credit: MiLB.com (Ken Inness)|
Although there’s rain in New York today and tomorrow, Tuesday night looks good for Giancarlo Stanton’s reunion at Yankee Stadium with his former Miami Marlins teammates.
One of these days we’ll see Yankees baseball again. I am not optimistic about tonight’s game but we’ll see.
|Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports|
Losing to Boston is ALWAYS unacceptable…
It was just a meaningless Spring game but I hate, really despise, losing to the Boston Red Sox. The game proves nothing regarding the American League East or the nineteen games the two teams will play in the regular season. Yet, I do not enjoy watching the Red Sox walking off the field in celebration under any circumstances. TGP’s Daniel Burch, who has been in fine prediction mode lately, feels that the Yankees will win the AL East by four games over the Red Sox. I hope he’s right. I would love nothing better than the Red Sox Nation in full anxiety and dread at the end of the season despite their flashy new toy (J.D. Martinez).
On Friday, the Red Sux (oops, sorry for the typo) blanked the Yankees, 5-0, behind starter Brian Johnson. Johnson, 27, a lefty, pitched 4 2/3 innings and held the Yankees, which featured Aaron Judge batting leadoff for the “Stripers” (Boone’s word, not mine), to only two hits while striking out five. After the game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced that Johnson had made the Opening Day Roster and will be in the starting rotation. Johnson has been solid all Spring (and is out of options) but beating the Yankees convincingly certainly helps one’s case.
The scare of the game occurred when Johnson hit Brandon Drury with a pitch in the fifth inning. The ball came in high and inside, striking the Yankees third baseman above the left elbow. He seemed to shake it off and took first base. But after Neil Walker ripped a ground rule double to left, moving Drury to third, he departed the game for a pinch runner after realizing the arm was swelling. Test results after the game proved negative so hopefully Drury will be back within a few days and will not miss Opening Day.
|Photo Credit: The New York Post (Charles Wenzelberg)|
Later in the day, Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants showed how quickly you can lose one of your star players. MadBum took a liner off the hand which broke the fifth metacarpal of his pitching hand and will miss 4-6 weeks. It reinforced how lucky the Yankees were in not losing Drury for an extended period. No time frame for Drury was given but for now he’s day-to-day. This morning, Drury said that he is feeling better but will take a rest day. His plan, assuming all goes well, is to resume baseball activities tomorrow. His intent is to be ready for Opening Day.
The Yankees play split squad games today against the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves and the scheduled third base starters are Miguel Andujar and Tyler Wade, respectively. Drury had been scheduled for the Blue Jays game but the Yankees pulled Andujar out of Minor League camp to make the start.
The Yankees continued reducing the roster yesterday in the ‘March to 25’. Luis Cessa, who has certainly lost my support (as if that matters to Aaron Boone), was optioned to Triple A and left-handed reliever Wade LeBlanc was provided his release. With the elimination of competition for a bullpen role, Chasen Shreve responded by giving up a two-run homer yesterday to Boston’s Sam Travis and allowed three total runs while on the mound for one inning of work even if one of those runs was charged to Tanaka. Shreve’s fault; not Tanaka which proves the fallacy of ERA. Hopefully Shreve rises to the occasion for the regular season and matches the performance of his stellar bullpen mates and doesn’t become the pitching staff’s weakest link. LeBlanc wasn’t unemployed for long as he was picked up by the Seattle Mariners today, signing a Major League contract. The M’s lost former Yankee David Phelps earlier this week when it was announced that he’d need Tommy John surgery.
In the latest roster move, the Yankees optioned Domingo German to Triple A which probably means RHP Jonathan Holder has made the Opening Day roster as the 13th man. I hope so. I am pulling for Holder to emerge as a key weapon in the pen. With David Robertson due to hit to free agent market after the season (which I absolutely hate to see), young guys like Holder will need to step up. D-Rob presents a dilemma. Do you trade him at the deadline or do you let him walk away at the end of the year for nothing? If the Yankees are in the heart of a pennant race (which we expect them to be), D-Rob is critical for mission success in October. But conversely, he could bring in quality prospects as a rental for another contending team in need of relief help in July. If other young arms like Holder prove that they can be this year’s Chad Green, Robertson might be expendable (which tortures me to write). I do not envy GM Brian Cashman for the decisions ahead.
Congratulations to Miguel Andujar! An-DU-jar received the James P Dawson award for the best rookie in camp this year. When the calendar flips to October this season, there’s no doubt that the 2018 Yankees will have been powered, in part, by the young Andujar. In other words, I fully expect him to make a significant contribution for the team this year even if he doesn’t get to travel to Toronto next week for the start of the regular season.
|Photo Credit: Associated Press|
There are some ex-Yankees that I continue to pull for and RHP Bryan Mitchell is no exception. However, it was very painful to watch last night’s exhibition game between the San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers. Joey Gallo hammered two home runs off Mitchell, who gave up seven runs over four innings. Mitchell was saved from the loss when the Padres erased the seven-run deficit by scoring nine runs. Not pretty for the former Yankee but he is still expected to be part of the starting rotation for the Padres this year. Hopefully the regular season will be much kinder to him. It was weird watching Chase Headley in Padres gear (and sporting a beard like Mitchell) with his familiar batting swing but there’s no doubt I prefer Brandon Drury and Miguel Andujar at third for the Yankees. Sorry Chase, I appreciate your contributions to Pinstripes but I am glad you are in the land of Sunny and 74 degrees.
|Photo Credit: Getty Images North America (Patrick Smith)|
After today, the Yankees have only two Spring games left. Today’s split-squad game against the Blue Jays represents the final game at Steinbrenner Field. Tomorrow, the Yankees travel to Port Charlotte to face the Tampa Bay Rays. On Monday, they go to Atlanta to face the Braves at SunTrust Park and the Spring schedule will be done. The roster of 25 will make their way to Ontario for Thursday afternoon’s opener against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The road to the World Series begins now. We got this.
|Photo Credit: Associated Press (Lynne Sladky)|
First day of Spring is March 20th but Life Begins Anew on March 29th…
It’s Jorge Posada Day! 20 more days until the start of the regular season and the Yankees walking up to the plate at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada to begin their quest for the 28th World Series championship in franchise history. Hip, hip, Hor-hay!
I have to admit I feel badly for third baseman Mike Moustakas. A career high 38 home runs and he gets less money this year than Todd Frazier. For his one year “pillow” contract with the Kansas City Royals, he’ll get $5.5 million with the opportunity to earn an additional $2.2 million in incentives. There is a mutual option for 2019 for $15 million which carries a $1 million buyout. Odds are that the Royals either trade Moose Tacos at the trading deadline or they exercise the buyout next off-season. I bet Moustakas does not make it through the season as a Royal. This shows how truly remarkable it was that GM Brian Cashman was able to get the San Diego Padres to absorb Chase Headley’s $13 million contract by simply attaching RHP Bryan Mitchell, who had no clear role with the Yankees.
|Photo Credit: Getty Images (Andy Hayt)|
I don’t blame the Yankees for not playing in the Moose Tacos sweepstakes. Actually, it appears that no team wanted to play. I liked the idea of Moustakas taking aim at the right field porch in Yankee Stadium, but once the Yankees acquired Brandon Drury (a player I like) to pair with Miguel Andujar, I didn’t give it another thought. The Yankees were never going to offer Moustakas a long-term deal and it didn’t seem wise to forfeit the draft choices (2nd and 5th round picks) and the international bonus pool money for a short-term investment. Last year’s second round draft choice (RHP Matt Sauer) is currently the Yankees’ 12th best prospect according to MLB.com. Considering how strong the Yankees farm system currently is, that’s no small feat and there is good value with high draft selections. I don’t think draft choices alone would have been reason not to sign Moustakas, but all things considered, I feel comfortable with the players currently at third for the Pinstripers.
The Yankees made their first cuts yesterday as the team begins paring down for the Opening Day roster. The first camp casualties were Justus Sheffield, Cale Coshow, Raynel Espinal, Trevor Lane, Chace Numata, and Dillon Tate. In light of the rough day that Sheffield had yesterday against the Philadelphia Phillies, I wish he could have departed under better circumstances. Top Sheff gave up three hits and runs in 1 2/3 innings to balloon his Spring ERA to 11.81. But it was a learning experience and there’s no doubt we’ll see Sheffield in the Bronx at some point later in the season. Better, faster, stronger and we won’t need to rebuild him.
I am starting to see more and more writers and bloggers saying that Tyler Wade is the leader for the second base job. I’ve felt all Spring the Yankees would break camp with Wade as the starting second baseman. Without regard to the delay in service time, I felt (and still feel) that Gleyber Torres will benefit from further experience at Triple A as he continues his road back from Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing arm. The guy is so incredibly young although extraordinarily talented. He’ll make his Major League debut sooner than later in the 2018 season. Once he arrives, I have no doubt he’ll own second base for years to come. In the meantime, I look forward to the opportunity that awaits Tyler Wade.
|Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire (Doug Murray)|
While I think Ronald Torreyes will make the Opening Day roster (with non-roster invitee Danny Espinosa opting out of his contract at the end of training camp), it would seem that he is an inevitable candidate for DFA at some point during the season. Once both Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar arrive at the Show to join Brandon Drury and Tyler Wade, there’s simply not going to be any room for Toe. He is the weakest of the group despite how valuable he’s been the last couple of years.
I am glad to hear that Aaron Judge has no current plans to participate with this year’s Home Run Derby.The Derby is fun for the fans but I’d prefer to see Judge focus on rest and relaxation regardless of whether or not he makes this year’s All-Star team. Too many are trying to speculate whether his participation last year was the direct cause for his second half slump. I don’t really care. It’s all water under the bridge now. Judge knows and understands his body better than anyone and I know that he’ll make the right decisions going forward. It was a learning experience. He has won the Derby and there is nothing left to prove. Winning a championship is all that matters. There’s no doubt Judge knows that better than any of us.
Billy McKinney has proven the Yankees have nothing to fear if they include Clint Frazier in a trade for a starting pitcher. I’ve been very impressed with McKinney’s work with the bat and at first base this Spring. While I think it’s possible that Adam Lind could supplant Tyler Austin as the backup first baseman, McKinney, with more experience at first base, could replace both of them and is an heir-apparent for left field if the Yankees do not re-sign Brett Gardner next off-season and if Frazier is included in the inevitable deal for an upper echelon starting pitcher. McKinney could make his presence felt in the Bronx this year if, Heaven-forbid, injuries strike.
|Photo Credit: Getty Images|
We’re moving into the “dog days” of training camp. The point where the excitement of Spring baseball is over and the joy and anticipation of Opening Day is starting to seep in. I’m ready and anxious to see the latest Yankees take the field at Yankee Stadium (by way of Rogers Centre, of course).
Lots of Sun in Florida for the Yankees…
The Baseball Winter Meetings are always my favorite time of the off-season and this year did not disappoint.
I just returned from a trip (hence, my silence on the site for the past few days). As I was departing on Saturday morning, I first read some tweets that the Yankees had been talking aggressively overnight with the Miami Marlins. By the time, I reached the airport, Twitter was exploding with tweets that the Yankees had pulled off the trade that brought the great Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx.
|Credit: Willie J Allen, Jr, Associated Press|
I hadn’t really thought about Stanton in pinstripes until recently when Bryan Van Dusen had raised the possibility on The Greedy Pinstripes website. At first, I dismissed the idea, thinking there was no way to fit Giancarlo into Hal Steinbrenner’s budget for 2018. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Still, I thought either the San Francisco Giants or the St Louis Cardinals, with negotiated trades in place with the Marlins, would be successful in their talks with the slugger to get him to waive his no-trade clause. I also kept thinking the Los Angeles Dodgers were waiting in the weeds to make their strike. Much to my surprise, Stanton’s representatives announced on Friday that the Cardinals were out, followed later that he would not be going to San Francisco. We didn’t know it at the time, but the Yankees had already been making headway in their talks with Miami and Stanton had rejected St Louis and San Francisco because he had knowledge that he would be headed to one of his original four desired destinations.
I had a strong feeling that the Yankees were going to trade Starlin Castro this winter based on some reports that I had heard. Perhaps he would have stayed in Pinstripes if Stanton hadn’t fallen into GM Brian Cashman’s lap. But regardless of his faults, I am sorry to see Castro go. There were a lot of jokes about how the Yankees fleeced the Marlins and got Stanton for nothing, but I disagree. The Marlins landed an All-Star second baseman and an all-around good guy in All-Starlin. The two prospects acquired by the Marlins were lower level but we’ve all heard about the 100 mph arm of Jorge Guzman (one half of the return, along with Albert Abreu, for former Yankees catcher Brian McCann from the Houston Astros last winter). Guzman has a chance to be a quality Major League arm. The other, infielder Jose Devers, is only 18, and is a cousin of Rafael Devers, the young Boston Red Sox third baseman. Granted, the Yankees didn’t relinquish any of their top prospects but they still paid a good price to take Stanton’s contract. If Stanton doesn’t exercise his opt-out in three years (his agent has already said that he will not), the Marlins will send $30 million to the Yankees to help pay down the contract. There’s no doubt this was a trade the Yankees had to make and any of us would have pulled the trigger on it, but it does carry a sense of loss for those players the Yankees sent to South Beach. So, I am tired of hearing that the Yankees acquired Stanton for nothing.
|Credit: Joseph D Sullivan|
From a roster standpoint, I really like that it opened second base for super prospect Gleyber Torres. I’ve felt that second or short would be a much better fit for Torres than the previously projected third base. Shortstop Didi Gregorius is not going anywhere anytime soon so second is the next best spot. There’s no doubt that Torres could have been special at third base but I like him better as the team’s second baseman. I doubt we see Torres at the start of the season as the Yankees will delay his service time for a few weeks to gain an extra year of control. This means we’ll have patchwork at second until Torres arrives…most likely some combination of Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade.
It’s probably too early to speculate how the Yankees will use Stanton and Aaron Judge. At first, I thought Judge would probably be moved to left to make room for Stanton in right, but Judge’s defense is too valuable. There’s the speculation that the outfield will be a rotation with the DH spot which makes sense, but I think we’ll have better clarity in the coming days and weeks. Both Stanton and Judge are too young to be used exclusively at DH. It would be huge if the Yankees could somehow find a way to move Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract along with oodles of the cash it will take.
Tuesday’s trade that sent Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres surprised me. The biggest surprise was San Diego’s willingness to take Headley’s contract. The Yankees paid half the assignment bonus (or $500,000 in this case) but did not have to ship cash to accompany the monies still owed to Headley. I figured that Mitchell’s time was coming to an end. I really like the pitcher but he’s been very inconsistent in his limited opportunities in the Bronx. If he hadn’t been traded, he was probably a candidate to be designated for assignment at some point in the upcoming season to free up room on the 40-man roster. I think Mitchell will thrive in San Diego and will achieve the potential we had projected for him (which is obviously the reason that the Padres were willing to take Headley’s contract). Last night, there were strong reports that the Padres could possibly trade Headley to the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels had acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Detroit Tigers earlier in the evening as they attempt to rebuild the talent around Mike Trout and newly signed two-way Japanese star Shohei Otani. Angels GM Billy Eppler was behind the Yankees’ acquisition of Headley from San Diego a few years ago so he’s a Headley fan.
Coming to the Yankees organization from San Diego is outfielder Jabari Blash. Blash hit .213 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 164 at-bats for the Padres last year. His numbers at Triple A were much better (.285, 20 HR, 62 RBI in 235 at-bats). Outfield is a position of redundancy in the Yankees organization so this leads me to believe that some of the congestion will be relieved in a future trade.
The Yankees now have openings on both sides of Didi Gregorius. I find it unlikely they’d go with rookies at both second and third, but stranger things have happened. Ideally, it would be great if the Yankees and Todd Frazier could come together on a short time deal. However, the Toddfather has earned a multi-year deal opportunity which probably removes the Yankees from the equation.
The Yankees are expected to make a play for a starting pitcher but I hope that it doesn’t result in the loss of free agent CC Sabathia. There’s room to add a starting pitcher and bring back CC, the team’s leader. Sabathia’s camp has talked with the Angels and the Toronto Blue Jays. It would be difficult to watch Sabathia go to either of those teams. The longer the Yankees put off Sabathia, the greater the chance he goes elsewhere. If one of the Bay Area teams came calling, it would probably be hard for Sabathia to pass up the chance to go home to play for his final season(s).
Regardless of Josh Bard’s qualifications, I was disappointed with his selection as the Yankees new bench coach. Last year, the Yankees had a wealth of experience with Rob Thomson sitting next to Joe Girardi. When Thomson left after not getting the manager’s job, I was hoping that the Yankees would find someone with commensurate experience. The toughest part for new Yankees manager Aaron Boone to master will be in-game action and I was hopeful that he’d have someone who has served time on the battle lines to help his learning curve. Granted, Boone has managerial experience with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and new third base coach Phil Nevin but Bard will be the chief lieutenant on the bench. I hope that ‘smart’ and ‘confident’ help yield the right in-game decisions. As expected, the Yankees promoted minor league coaches Reggie Willets and Carlos Mendoza. Willets will take first base (replacing long-time Yankees coach Tony Pena), while Mendoza will serve as infield coach/quality control and will be in uniform during games. Marcus Thames (hitting coach) and Mike Harkey (bullpen coach) are expected to return.
I knew the Rule 5 Draft was going to be difficult in terms of potential losses and it was. In the first round of the Major League Phase, the Yankees lost RHP Anyelo Gomez (Atlanta Braves), LHP Nestor Cortes (Baltimore Orioles) and 1B Mike Ford (Seattle Mariners). In the third round, the Orioles grabbed RHP Jose Mesa, Jr. I don’t think any of the names are a surprise as all of them had been cited as potential losses. Of course, they have to stick on their new team’s MLB roster for the entire year or they must be offered back to the Yankees. Last year, the Yankees lost C Luis Torrens to the San Diego Padres when he stuck the entire year on their active MLB roster. I am expecting at least one of this year’s draftees to stick. Nestor Cortes is probably the one that I wanted to keep the most as quality left-handers are hard to find. I thought RHP J.P. Feyereisen would be taken but he was not. In the Minor League Phase, the Yankees lost RHP Yancarlos Baez (Minnesota Twins) and C Sharif Othman (Miami Marlins). These are permanent losses. The Yankees grabbed a Single-A outfielder, Junior Soto, from the Cleveland Indians. In 2017 for Single A-Lake County Captains, Soto hit 9 home runs and 17 RBI’s in 52 games while batting .172. He struck out 61 times in 174 at-bats, while taking only 6 walks.
The Winter Meetings have come to an end but the Yankees still have much work to do. There are rumors that the Orioles have Manny Machado in play but I seriously doubt the O’s would trade him intra-division. To me, it would make sense. The O’s will lose Machado at some point and why not grab top prospects from a key division rival. But O’s owner Peter Angelos is 88 and I am sure that he does not want to spend his final years watching Machado star for the Yankees. All things considered, I’d rather use the prospects to grab another frontline starter and then potentially sign Machado after next season when he is a free agent. But of course, the “greedy” side of me would love to march both Machado and Stanton out onto the field at Yankee Stadium next year for simultaneous debuts along with another quality starter to join the rotation.
I wonder what Joe Girardi thinks about all this?…
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Blue Jays 9, Yankees 5…
Despite two home runs by Aaron Judge, the Yankees couldn’t overcome shoddy pitching and lost the rubber game of the three-game series on Sunday to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pardon me if I don’t get excited when Jaime Garcia is on the mound. I know that he did a decent job last time out, but he’s a subpar starter at best and a future ex-Yankee. Unfortunately, he played to form on Sunday. I don’t know if it was the hangover from Saturday’s celebration or simply the usual dismal performance from Garcia that put the Yanks in a hole early.
I suppose I shouldn’t blame Garcia for the home run he allowed Teoscar Hernandez to lead off the game. Hernandez’s home run to the second deck of the left field stands on the second pitch of the game was his third against the Yankees in three games. Both Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray felt Garcia’s pain. The Jays up early, 1-0.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
It didn’t take the Jays long to add to their lead. Kevin Pillar led off the bottom of the 2nd inning with a double to the left field wall. With Russell Martin batting, Pillar easily stole third. Martin struck out, but Darwin Barney took advantage of the runner in scoring position to loft a sacrifice fly to center when he punched a low Garcia pitch. Pillar scored and it was 2-0.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Justin Smoak hit a one-out double to deep center between Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Garcia walked the next two batters, Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales, to load the bases. Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough (of course, I had seen enough of Garcia when he was taking his warmup pitches before the game) and made his way to the mound.
Credit: Getty Images
Garcia was pulled and replaced with Jonathan Holder. Holder got Pillar to pop up in foul territory (third base side) for the second out, but then Russell Martin hit a double to deep right that Aaron Judge couldn’t get to. The double cleared the bases, and the Blue Jays were up 5-0.
The Yankees finally got to Jays starter Marcus Stroman in the top of the 4th inning. Chase Headley and Aaron Judge both walked to start the inning. Didi Gregorius singled to center to score Headley. Judge moved to second. It was a 5-1 game. Starlin Castro hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Gregorius out at second, with Judge moving to third. Unfortunately, Judge would stay at third as both Jacoby Ellsbury and Todd Frazier struck out against Stroman to end the potential scoring opportunity.
Bryan Mitchell was brought in to pitch the bottom of the 4th inning. No offense to Mitchell but he’s not the guy I would have brought into the game at that point. I like Mitchell but he’s been like gasoline poured on fire this season and not in a good way. Ryan Goins singled to left to get things started against Mitchell. After Teoscar Hernandez walked, Josh Donaldson singled up the middle to center field to score Goins, with Hernandez taking second. With Justin Smoak batting, Mitchell threw a wild pitch to advance the runners. It didn’t matter as Smoak walked to load the bases. Jose Bautista singled to right, scoring Goins, and the bases were still loaded. Kendrys Morales singled to left, scoring Hernandez and Donaldson. Bautista also tried to score but was nailed at the plate. After Mitchell hit Kevin Pillar with a pitch, Girardi finally pulled the plug on Mitchell. Not quite sure what took him so long to make that decision. Ben Heller came in and got Russell Martin to hit into an inning-ending double play. The Blue Jays held a commanding 9-1 lead over the Bombers.
In the top of the 6th inning, Aaron Judge led off with a home run to left, on a fly just over the wall, off Marcus Stroman. It was Judge’s 47th homer of the season.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double to deep center. A walk of Todd Frazier ended Stroman’s day. Matt Dermody entered the game to face Greg Bird and exited when Bird doubled to deep right off the wall to score Ellsbury. Frazier moved to third. Ryan Tepera took over for Dermody and got Austin Romine to ground out to third for the final out.
Chase Headley reached base on a single up the middle with one out in the top of the 7th inning against Tepera. Aaron Judge followed with a two-run blast to left center to cut the Jays’ lead to 9-5. It was Judge’s second home run of the game and his 48th of the season (one shy of the MLB Rookie Record held by Mark McGwire).
From there, the Yankees couldn’t really mount much offense against Blue Jays bullpen. Jays closer Roberto Osuna took over in the 9th inning. After Osuna struck out Brett Gardner, the Blue Jays sent Ezequiel Carrera to right field to replace Jose Bautista. Joey Bats, perhaps playing his final home game for Toronto, made his way off the field through a series of hugs with the on-the-field players and received congratulations in the dugout. It is a foregone conclusion that Bautista won’t be back for the Blue Jays in 2018 given a $20 million mutual option that the team would be foolish to pick up for a player in the twilight of his career. It was a nice moment for the long-time Blue Jay.
|Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports|
Credit: Jon Blacker-The Canadian Press
Osuna struck out the next two batters, Chase Headley and Aaron Judge, to end the game.
The Yankees (86-69) lost further ground to the Boston Red Sox with their first series loss since being swept by the Cleveland Indians in late August. The Red Sox rallied to defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4, and now hold a commanding five game lead in the AL East with seven games to play. The Minnesota Twins swept the Detroit Tigers with their 10-4 win on Sunday so they closed the gap in the Wild Card standings to 4 1/2 games. This definitely makes me wish that Jaime Garcia had been pitching for the Twins, and the not the Yankees, the last few weeks. We would have had a much greater lead.
Aaron Judge was clearly the hitting star with the two home runs, but he couldn’t do it all himself. God bless him for trying.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Dellin Betances looked good. Pitching the 8th inning, he did hit a batter (Justin Smoak) but otherwise retired the batters he faced. He ended the inning with a swinging strikeout of Kendry Morales. The Yankees really need to get this guy back to form and soon. Hopefully this was a step in the right direction.
I was hoping for better results yesterday but the Yankees need to focus on the task at hand. Time to head back to Yankee Stadium and make a strong home stand to end the season.
Next Up: Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York…
The Yankees and Royals play one game which is a makeup for the rainout on May 25th. At the time, the Yankees had taken two of three games from the Royals when the fourth game was postponed. Mathematically, the Royals still have a chance for the second Wild Card spot but their days are numbered (literally and figuratively speaking).
Here is today’s scheduled pitching matchup:
Royals: Jake Junis (8-2, 4.05 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (12-5, 3.81 ERA)
The Yankees currently lead the season series with the Royals, four games to two. At the time of the rainout, the Yankees were 27-17.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be in town for three games beginning Tuesday night.
Odds & Ends…
The Washington Nationals plan to activate RF Bryce Harper off the disabled list today to begin their series in Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals, who already look like the best team in the NL with the recent collapse of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will try to get Harper in top form before October.
Have a great Monday! Hopefully today is a royal success for the home team. Go Yankees!
Yankees 7, Mets 5…
Bryan Mitchell tried to give the game away, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 9th and then allowing a grand salami by former Yank Curtis Granderson, but Dellin Betances came in (“it’s not really what you want to do” –Joe Girardi) to restore order and give the Yankees the series sweep over the New York Mets.
This should have been an easy win with the dominance of Luis Severino and the power of Gary Sanchez but it was a nail-bitter at the end. If the Mets had gotten a runner on base against Betances, they would have brought the potential game-tying run to the plate. But Dellin is no Aroldis Chapman (of late) and he shut the door.
This game should have been all about the Kraken. Gary Sanchez is rapidly becoming Mr August although I’d be okay with Mr August through October. He owned August last year and he owns it again this season. Brett Gardner led off with a bouncer back to Mets pitcher Steven Matz and reached second when Matz’s throw sailed over first baseman Dominic Smith’s head. Aaron Hicks walked. After Aaron Judge struck out (record extended), El Gary came to the plate and sent a Matz pitch into the left center stands as a souvenir. The Yankees led 3-0 to give Luis Severino some backing before he had even thrown a pitch.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
The Yankees got to Matz again in the fourth inning. Tyler Austin singled to right, his second hit of the game. Ronald Torreyes followed with a single to left, a roller through the hole at short. The best hit of the night, sorry Gary, came when Luis Severino popped a bunt that fell in for a single to load the bases. The Yankees bench went nuts over Sevy’s first Major League hit. Brett Gardner, showing the professional hitter that he is, lined a double into the left field corner. Both Austin and Torreyes scored. Sevy stopped at third, huffing and puffing (not seriously). After Aaron Hicks grounded out, Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded again. The Mets pulled Steven Matz and replaced him with reliever Chasen Bradford. Gary Sanchez greeted Bradford with a single to left (through the hole between third and short), which scored Severino and Gardner. Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud was unable to hold Yoenis Cespedes’ throw, otherwise, he might have had a play on Gardner at the plate. The Yankees had scored 4 runs and now led 7-0.
|Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports|
Luis Severino was dominant after his collapse against Boston last weekend. He pitched into the seventh inning. He got the first out…a ground out by Amed Rosario, but from there, the inning deteriorated. A fly ball to right by Travis d’Arnaud was dropped by Aaron Judge and d’Arnaud was able to reach second on the two-base error. With Matt Reynolds batting, a wild pitch by Severino allowed d’Arnaud to move to third. It was another case where Gary Sanchez didn’t have his glove low enough to stop the pitch. Matt Reynolds looped a single to center to score d’Arnaud and the Mets had their first run of the game. Brandon Nimmo also singled to center, and Sevy’s day was done. He could only watch from the dugout as both runners were his responsibility. The Yankees brought in lefty Chasen Shreve, causing Tweeter to blow up with the “Chasen History” references due to the appearance of two Chasens (Shreve and the Mets’ Bradford) in the game. Shreve struck out Curtis Granderson for the second out, but walked Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases. In perhaps what would prove to be one of the game’s biggest moments, Shreve struck out Michael Conforto to end the threat.
Shreve easily set down the Mets in the 8th, but Bryan Mitchell was brought in for the 9th to close it out. Sadly, he was ill equipped for the job on this night. Travis d’Arnaud led off with a double to the wall in left. Matt Reynolds singled to right while d’Arnaud was held at third. Following a coaching visit by pitching coach Larry Rothschild (it didn’t work), Mitchell walked Brandon Nimmo to load the bases with no outs. Curtis Granderson came up and jumped all over the first pitch from Mitchell for a grand slam to right. Manager Joe Girardi was visibly unhappy (along with Yankees fans), and finally pulled Mitchell. Enter Dellin Betances. 1-2-3, game over. Yankees win!
The Boston Red Sox had the day off so the Yankees (65-55) picked up a 1/2 game and now trail the Sox by 4 games as they head to Boston for the weekend. The Tampa Bay Rays continue to slide, falling to the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-3. The loss, combined with the Blue Jays win, created a three-way tie for the AL East Cellar (the Baltimore Orioles were idle). All three teams trail the Yankees by 6 1/2 games.
Excellent pitching performance by Luis Severino (10-5). After giving up 10 runs (8 earned) in his last start, Sevy bounced back to allow only four hits and one run (none earned) over 6 1/3 innings. If not for Judge’s error, he probably could have gone deeper into the game. He walked three batters, but struck out nine in lowering his season ERA to 3.18.
|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
Also, you can’t say enough about the huge bullpen performances by Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances, who picked up his eighth save. Both pitchers had the outcome of the game in their hands and they triumphed.
As for Mitchell, I know that he is capable of providing long relief but I’d probably send him down to Triple A and recall hot reliever Ben Heller with Caleb Smith, also capable of going long, in the pen.
Gary Sanchez…The Kraken…El Gary…The Sanchino. Two hits, including the homer and five RBI’s. Jump on his back and hold on…the man is on fire.
|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
The streak continues. Aaron Judge extended his own Major League record for strikeouts (by a non-pitcher) to 34 games. I’d like to see a nice clean 4-for-4 day to put this one in the history books. For this game, Judge went hitless in four at-bats and was punched out three times.
The Yankees had a sense of humor with their Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones) reference after the game:
We could probably use Dany’s dragons as the Yankees head north to Massachusetts.
Next Up: Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston, MA…
The Red Sox come into the latest series well rested as they had the day off on Thursday following their walk-off win over the St Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night. The Yankees meanwhile had to toil in Queens last night before hopping a plane for the short flight to Beantown.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 3.94 ERA)
Red Sox: Drew Pomeranz (12-4, 3.39 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (9-5, 4.05 ERA)
Red Sox: Chris Sale (14-4, 2.51 ERA)
Yankees: Sonny Gray (7-7, 3.37 ERA)
Red Sox: Doug Fister (2-6, 5.56 ERA) / TBA
It’s unfortunate we won’t have Luis Severino for this series, but at least we have Sonny Gray. Gray will be making his first start in the Yankees-Red Sox wars. He’ll really find out that he no longer resides in Oakland (if watching last weekend’s series wasn’t enough). I am not sure if Boston has fully decided its starter for Sunday. Fister is a strong possibility but not a certainty.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have recalled 1B/OF Tyler Austin from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He takes the place of 1B Garrett Cooper. Cooper has been placed on the 10-day DL with left hamstring tendonitis.
Greg Bird was in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup last night at DH. He was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored in the RailRiders’ 5-4 win over the Gwinnett Braves (a team that will soon be called something like the Buttons or the Sweet Teas).
Have a great Friday! May the Baseball Gods favor the Yankees this weekend. Go Yankees!
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press|
Red Sox 10, Yankees 5…
I have been guilty of using the word “ace” when it comes to Luis Severino but performances like Saturday when Sevy imploded against the Boston Red Sox serves as a reminder that he is not there yet. After the brilliant come-from-behind win on Friday night, it was the Red Sox who caught and then battered the Yankees.
Boston rookie left-fielder Andrew Benintendi, 23, became the youngest Red Sox player to have 6 RBI’s against the Yankees since 1920. He was just the second Red Sox hitter to belt two homers of three or more runs since legendary HOFer Jimmie Foxx did it twice during the 1938 season.
The game started beautifully. Severino retired the first three Red Sox hitters on six pitches to start the game, and the Yankees jumped on Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz in the bottom of the first. Brett Gardner led off with a single to left. After Pomeranz struck out Aarons Hicks and Judge, Gary Sanchez took advantage of the right field porch to give the Yankees the early 2-0 lead.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press|
Severino was still dominant in the second inning. He only needed 11 pitches to retire the four through six hitters of the Red Sox lineup, including a swinging strikeout of Hanley Ramirez to start the inning.
The game changed in the third inning. With the Yankees still leading 2-0, Severino walked Christian Vazquez and Jackie Bradley, Jr with one out. A fielding error by Todd Frazier (dropped the ball on the transfer from his glove) allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach base and the bases were loaded. Mookie Betts singled to left in the hole through short, scoring Vazquez and JBJ, and the game was tied. Andrew Benintendi hit a sharp fly that hit the top of the center field wall and bounced over for a three run homer. The Red Sox had taken a 5-2 lead. They got a couple more singles (by Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland), but the Yankees were able to get out of the inning when Xander Bogaerts lined out to left and Brett Gardner’s throw to second doubled Ramirez off 2nd for the final out.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press|
The Yankees looked like they were going to make it a game again in the 4th inning. Severino struck out the side to bring the Yankees to bat. Didi Gregorius led off with a single to center. Todd Frazier walked, and Chase Headley singled to center to load the bases. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to first, but Gregorius came home to score and it was 5-3. The Yankees were unable to push any more runs across when both Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner popped out against Pomeranz. The missed opportunity hurt because the Red Sox would make the Yankees pay the next inning.
Eduardo Nunez led off the fifth with a single to left. Mookie Betts doubled to left, with Nunez moving to third. Andrew Benintendi came up again and belted his second home run of the game, and 16th of the year, to give the Red Sox an 8-3 advantage. I am sure the ‘no doubt about it’ blast to the right center field stands caused the bars in Boston to erupt. After Hanley Ramirez flied out, Mitch Moreland doubled to left. Xander Bogaerts reached base on a throwing error by Didi Gregorius and Moreland moved to third. Manager Joe Girardi ended Severino’s day and brought in Giovanny Gallegos. Boston rookie third baseman Rafael Devers greeted Gallegos with a double to center, scoring both Moreland and Bogaerts. Gallegos retired the next two batters but the Red Sox had scored 5 times to increase their lead to 10-3.
The Yankees added a couple of solo home runs in the bottom of the 9th when both Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury went yard, but it was too little, too late. Red Sox reliever Robby Scott settled down and retired the next three Yankees to end the game.
|Credit: Getty Images|
The Yankees (61-54) fell back to 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox with the loss. It doesn’t bode well for Sunday with Chris Sale pitching for Boston. Sale hasn’t beaten the Yankees this year, but he’ll bring a 1.15 ERA into the game based on two starts against the Bombers. For a team struggling to score, Sale is not exactly a recipe for success. The Tampa Bay Rays were unable to make up any ground on the Yankees and remain 3 1/2 games behind New York. They were shut out by the Cleveland Indians, 3-0. The Baltimore Orioles moved back to 4 games behind the Yankees with their 12-5 win over the Oakland A’s.
Aaron Judge was cold as ice. He was 0-for-4, with two strikeouts. He extended his own team record with his 29th consecutive game with a strikeout. While Judge is still the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year, Benintendi is the one making noise in the Dog Days of Summer. Later in the day, I turned on the TV to see Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger belt his 34th home of the season against the San Diego Padres. The other top rookies have made the necessary adjustments. Hopefully Judge can figure this out and follow suit. He is capable of doing to Boston what Benintendi did to the Yankees.
|Credit: Robert Sabo|
Luis Severino’s final line was very ugly. 4 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. He gave up the two homers to Benintendi. His season record dropped to 9-5 and his ERA was inflated to 3.32. Nice job by Gallegos after he got past the two-run double by Devers. He pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing only the double, and struck out 4. Bryan Mitchell pitched the final two innings, giving up three hits but no runs.
|Credit: Rich Schultz-Getty Images|
Odds & Ends…
Saturday opened with news that Masahiro Tanaka had been placed on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation. Tanaka will avoid pitching for 5 days but is expected to return when eligible. To take his place, the Yankees recalled reliever Giovanny Gallegos (who relieved Luis Severino in Saturday’s game). I had thought Bryan Mitchell would get the start on Monday in place of Tanaka, but his two innings of work probably means that Luis Cessa will be recalled to make the start against the New York Mets. No announcement has been made regarding who will make the start. Caleb Smith is scheduled to start for the RailRiders today so he’s probably not an option. The long-anticipated MLB debut for Chance Adams will have to wait since Adams pitched Friday night and is not an option for Monday.
The Yankees almost lost another starter when Jordan Montgomery took a ball to the head during Red Sox batting practice. Montgomery was signing autographs for fans down the right field line when he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon. Talking to reporters later, Montgomery said that he’ll be fine and will make today’s start but you could clearly see a laceration on his ear from the seams on the baseball. Very scary but hopefully he’ll have no lasting effects.
|Credit: Kathy Willens-The Associated Press|
Have a great Sunday! Here’s hoping the Yankees can defy the odds against Sale and took the series with a win. Let’s Go Yankees!
Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2…
The Yankees had their chances on Tuesday but like so many games recently, they struggled to get runs across the plate and left too many runners in scoring position stranded. Rookie first baseman Garrett Cooper was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI’s, representing the sole offense for the Yankees, in their loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. On the surface it looks like a good night for him, but it could have been much more as he came up twice with the bases loaded. But you can’t pin the loss on Cooper, this was a team effort.
The tone of the game was set early. Jose Bautista led off the bottom of the first with a double to right. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Russell Martin. Josh Donaldson, who entered the game with only 13 home runs, blasted a two-run shot to center. In retrospect, it could have been worse as a subsequent walk and double put runners at second and third, but Sabathia was able to get Kevin Pillar to ground out to end the inning.
Credit: Steve Russell-Toronto Star
The Yankees had a good opportunity in the top of the 2nd inning against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ when both Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius singled. Unfortunately, Todd Frazier hit into a 6-4-3 double play to eliminate Gregorius. With Headley on third, Garrett Cooper singled to right to score the Yankees first run. But that’s all the Yankees would get as Ronald Torreyes grounded out.
After an easy second inning for Sabathia, the third inning looked like the first. Russell Martin singled to left, and was followed by Josh Donaldson who hit his second homer of the game, a fly ball to the second deck in left. It gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead. A great running catch by Ronald Torreyes with Kendrys Morales in scoring position prevented any further runs.
Sabathia left the game after three innings as a result of knee pain. It was the worst pain that Sabathia has felt since he started wearing a larger knee brace several years ago. After the game, Sabathia said “It’s just hard to land. It’s hard for me to finish my pitches. It’s just hard for me to get over my front side and finish my pitches. When I can’t do that, I don’t know where the ball is going.” There’s no immediate word if Sabathia will miss his next start but he’ll head back to New York for further tests. We’re reaching the point where you have to wonder if every Sabathia start might be his final start for the Yankees. If Sabathia does miss time, Jordan Montgomery seems like the best alternative as a replacement but given he is at Triple A working under an innings limit, a short term option would probably be Bryan Mitchell.
Mitchell replaced Sabathia in the fourth, and provided a Chad Green-like performance. He went four innings, allowing only three hits and no runs.
The Yankees had a golden opportunity in the 6th inning. With one out, both Gary Sanchez and Chase Headley walked. After a fly out by Didi Gregorius, Todd Frazier hit a grounder to short and reached first base, just ahead of the throw, after a challenge overturned the on the field call which had ruled Frazier out at first. Garrett Cooper came up with his first bases loaded opportunity but failed to deliver with an inning-ending fly to right.
The Yankees offense was thwarted again in the 7th. Ronald Torreyes led off with a single, but was erased when Brett Gardner grounded to second for a double play. Clint Frazier followed with a single, but it was for naught when Aaron Judge struck out.
The last great chance came in the 8th. Gary Sanchez was hit with a pitch from Jays reliever Ryan Tepera on the left wrist (he stayed in the game after being checked out by the medical staff and Joe Girardi). Chase Headley was also hit by a pitch, after a challege review which showed the ball hitting Headley’s foot, to reach base. Didi Gregorius popped up in the infield for the first out, but Todd Frazier walked. It brought Garrett Cooper to the plate for the second time with the bases loaded. He hit a sacrifice fly to left which was deep enough to score Sanchez but you couldn’t help but wonder what could have been with a single or double in at least one of those bases loaded situations. The other runners were left stranded when Ronald Torreyes lined out.
The Yankees went down quietly in the 9th with Jays closer Roberto Osuna. It was another game of lost opportunities. The Blue Jays pitched carefully to Aaron Judge which led to two walks, but it probably wasn’t really necessary as Judge was hitless in three official at-bats (striking out twice). Clint Frazier was 1-for-4 but struck out three times. Overall, the Yankees left 10 men on base. It’s tough to watch the Boston Red Sox pick up former Yankee Eduardo Nunez and he hits everything in sight (16-for-40 with 8 extra base hits) and the Yankees can’t seem to get any extra base hits when they need them the most.
Obviously, it is not a good sign about CC Sabathia’s knee. The years have taken its toll on the pitcher, and he’s question mark every time out at this point (assuming that he is able to come back). Sabathia (9-5) took the loss. The four runs in three innings pushed his season ERA to 4.05. I hope that he’s able to make a successful return as his Yankees career winds down but I can’t say that I am overly optimistic.
Credit: Fred Thornhill-The Canadian Press via AP
The Yankees (59-52) fell four games behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss. The Red Sox defeated Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 behind Chris Sale and his 13 strikeouts. So the Rays remain 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The Baltimore Orioles lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Angels and stayed four games behind the Yankees.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees recalled RHP Bryan Mitchell to take the roster spot vacated when LHP Jordan Montgomery was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Poor Mitchell had to find a new number since his preferred #55 has been claimed by Sonny Gray. He chose to stay with the matching double digit combo and went with #66. #88, anyone?…
It was good to hear that both Greg Bird and Starlin Castro took batting practice at Rogers Centre yesterday prior to the game. While I am not overly optimistic that we’ll get anything out of Bird this year, I am pulling for the player to finally show a glimpse of what we saw during Spring Training. Ronald Torreyes has softened the blow of Castro’s absence but it will be good to get the regular second baseman back on the field again.
OF Aaron Hicks has been re-assigned to Double A Trenton as part of his continuing rehab assignment. He may be activated for this weekend’s series against the Boston Red Sox in the Bronx. We’ll soon find it if it is Clint Frazier or someone else that goes down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room. If Frazier stays, the losers are probably Garrett Cooper (potential option to Triple A) and Jacoby Ellsbury (fifth behind the other four outfielders).
The Blue Jays scratched today’s scheduled starter, Cesar Valdez. Valdez was placed on the DL with a shoulder injury. Nick Tepesch (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will start in his place against Masahiro Tanaka.
It was a very nice gesture by the Colorado Rockies to hang the late Don Baylor’s jersey in their dugout for yesterday’s game at Progressive Field in Cleveland against the Indians. Baylor was the first manager in Rockies history, serving from 1993 to 1998. The Rockies will have a tribute planned for Baylor when they return to Coors Field in Denver on August 14th versus the Atlanta Braves. Following Baylor’s passing, Rockies owner Dick Montfort issued the following statement: “He was a big man with an even bigger heart, a friend of so many. His persona will be a part of our club heritage forever. This is a sad day in Colorado and for all of baseball.”
Credit: Tony Dejak-Associated Press
Have a great Wednesday! One more day to Sonny Gray! Let’s Go Yankees!
Yankees 6, Twins 3…
On Tuesday, the Yankees faced baseball’s oldest player and a former Yank. With a 2-8 record and 8.14 ERA for the Atlanta Braves, Bartolo Colon looked to be a feast for the young Baby Bombers. But after he shut down the Yankees in the first inning like a young ace, I had fears that Colon was going to be a master, for one night, against the Yankees. Fortunately, he wore down quickly and the Yankees got to him in the fifth inning to rally for the victory over the Minnesota Twins.
|Credit: Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports|
Admittedly, it was a little hard to focus on the game as rumors were swirling about the Yankees potential acquisition of Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle from the Chicago White Sox. The trade became official after the game but more on that later.
I like Yankees starter Luis Cessa and he’s done well at Triple A. But for whatever reason, it just has not translated at the Major League level for him…yet. It felt like it was going to be a long night when Colon breezed through the top of the Yankees batting order in the first inning including a strike out of Aaron Judge. Cessa, on the other hand, struggled out of the gate. He walked the first two batters and hit Miguel Sano with a pitch to load the bases with only one out. After getting Max Kepler to pop out, Cessa walked Robbie Grossman to give the Twins the early 1-0 lead. Fortunately, Cessa struck out Eddie Rosario to prevent any further damage. One run on no hits…not exactly how you want to start a game.
|Credit: Randy Miller/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
Cessa walked the first batter of the second inning but settled down to retire the next three batters. With the Yankee offense still unable to get anything going against Colon, the Twins added to their lead in the third when Miguel Sano homered to center (a solo shot into the bullpen).
The Yankees finally got on the board in the top of the 4th. Aaron Judge opened the inning with a single to left. Didi Gregorius hit an infield grounder to third that was deflected off Colon for a single. Clint Frazier hit into a force out that erased Gregorius at second but Judge advanced to third. Chase Headley singled to center, past a diving Brian Dozier, to bring home Judge and it was 2-1 Twins.
The Twins got the run right back in the bottom of the inning. Jason Castro hit a one-out double to the right field wall and Brian Dozier hit a fly ball that nearly went out of the park, bouncing off the upper part of the scoreboard area on the right field fence, as the Twins regained the two-run advantage, 3-1. Cessa was able to retire Zack Granite on a ground out, but the Yankees brought in Chasen Shreve to secure the final out, a ground out by Joe Mauer.
The 4th inning had showed the Yankees were finally starting to make progress against the ancient Colon but the 5th inning showed why Colon is no longer an Atlanta Brave. Ronald Torreyes singled to left center and moved to third on a ground rule double by Brett Gardner, a fly ball that bounced just inside of the left foul line before falling into the left field stands on the foul side. Gary Sanchez then doubled to left, scoring both Torreyes and Gardner. The game was tied at 3. Twins manager Paul Molitor had seen enough and pulled Colon in favor of reliever Ryan Pressly. But the results were no different. Aaron Judge singled to center to score Sanchez and after Matt Holliday struck out, Didi Gregorius blasted a two-run homer to right. The Yankees had their first lead of the series, 6-3.
|Credit: Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports|
The Twins came right back in the bottom of the 5th and it looked like they might get some runs back. Miguel Sano doubled to left and Max Kepler singled to right, moving Sano to third. Fortunately, Chasen Shreve struck out the next two batters and induced Jorge Polanco into an infield popout to leave Sano stranded at third.
The Yankees loaded the bases again in the 6th inning but Matt Holliday hit a grounder for the final out leaving the bases full. From there it was up to the Yankees bullpen. Adam Warren was great. He pitched two innings of hitless ball in the 6th and 7th, striking out 2. From there, it was a high wire act with Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. Robbie Grossman doubled off Betances to open the bottom of the 8th. After striking out Eddie Rosario, Betances hit pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar with a pitch. He struck out Jason Castro but walked the dangerous Brian Dozier to load the bases. Zack Granite hit a hard fly ball to right looked to be trouble for a second but it fell short of the wall into Aaron Judge’s glove for the final out. A few groans from the Target Field crowd…
Aroldis Chapman took over in the 9th but it was not easy. He walked Joe Mauer on a full count to start the inning. A wild pitch moved Mauer to second and eliminated the possibility of a double play. Miguel Sano grounded out, Ronald Torreyes to Garrett Cooper, moving Mauer to third. Fortunately, Chapman retired the next two batters for his 10th save as the Yankees evened the series at a game apiece.
|Credit: Getty Images|
The Yankees (48-44) remained in third place in the AL East with the win as both the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays won. The Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-4, in 15 innings and the Rays beat the Oakland A’s, 4-3. The Yankees are 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox and a 1 1/2 games behind the Rays.
Throughout the game, I was keeping an eye on the Los Angeles Dodgers game in Chicago against White Sox. Todd Frazier had been held out of the game, and neither David Robertson nor Tommy Kahnle pitched despite Chicago’s use of multiple pitchers in the 1-0 loss to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. The White Sox game ended before Aroldis Chapman shut down the Twins. Interestingly, Tyler Clippard, one of the rumored players going to the White Sox (which turned out to be true), was warming with Aroldis Chapman in the top of the 9th inning and might have come into the game had the Yankees been able to add to their lead.
The Yankees conclude the series in Minneapolis this afternoon.
The Yankees Are Officially Buyers…
What is old is new again! The question whether the Yankees would be buyers or sellers or hold pat was answered after the game when the rumored deal with the White Sox became official. In exchange for New Jersey native Todd Frazier and former Yankees David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, the Yankees sent their #4 prospect, outfielder Blake Rutherford, LHP Ian Clarkin, OF Tito Polo and reliever Tyler Clippard to Chicago.
|Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images|
I am sad to see Rutherford go but all things considered, it is a position of depth and there is still a possibility the Yankees could make a run at Bryce Harper when he becomes a free agent so Rutherford was a bit redundant (particularly given the breakout performance of Double-A outfielder Estevan Florial). I’ve always liked Ian Clarkin and had hoped that he would eventually find his way to the Bronx after injuries prevented the lefty pitcher from advancing more quickly. Polo is an unranked prospect that the Yankees acquired from the Pirates in the trade that sent Ivan Nova to Pittsburgh. I am obviously not disappointed to see Clippard go, especially since Robertson and Kahnle represent significant bullpen upgrades.
I remember being so disappointed when the Yankees lost Tommy Kahnle to the Colorado Rockies in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft and he stuck with the Rockies for the entire year. I was very aware of him when the Rockies traded him to the White Sox last November. He was a good reliever in Denver and has been even better for the White Sox.
|Credit: Paul Sancya/AP|
I hated to see David Robertson leave via free agency. I remember when there was the potential that the Yankees could sign both Andrew Miller and David Robertson but inevitably they chose to sign Miller and take the compensation pick (SS Kyle Holder) to let the highly regarded Robertson sign elsewhere. During his first year with the White Sox, he was placed on waivers after the trading deadline and the Yankees put in the winning claim. There was no activity in trade talks but I remember the momentary excitement about Robertson’s possible return.
Todd Frazier has the ability to play first base in addition to third but time will tell whether Manager Joe Girardi uses Frazier or Chase Headley at first. Given that Frazier is clearly a rental, I suspect that he’ll be the regular first baseman but that is Girardi’s decision to make.
With Clippard off the roster, the Yankees still have to make two moves today. My immediate thought would be the demotions of Ji-Man Choi and Luis Cessa to Triple A. But Garrett Cooper could be the odd man out if the Yankees feel he would be better served by starting every day for the RailRiders.
Also, it will be interesting to see if Clint Frazier gives up #30 to Robertson. I personally think he should. He had no prior attachments to the number. As for Todd Frazier, he wears Paul O’Neill’s number which has not been retired. I wonder if he is forced to choose a new number or if the Yankees finally allow the number to be worn again. All things considered, it is just a two month rental so it probably makes more sense to keep #21 in moth balls.
Welcome (or welcome back) to the Yankees, Todd, David and Tommy!
Odds & Ends…
To make room on the active roster for RHP Luis Cessa who started Tuesday’s game, the Yankees optioned RHP Bryan Mitchell, Monday’s starter, to Triple A. Poor Mitchell, he’s probably getting tired of the Bronx-to-Scranton Shuttle.
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins placed former Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes on the 60-day disabled list. I guess I really haven’t been following Hughes’ career in the Twin Cities, but I did not realize that he’s been battling Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). As defined by Wikipedia, TOS is a condition in which there is a compression of the nerves, arteries or veins in the passageway from the lower neck to the armpit. He had part of a rib removed through surgery last year and is experiencing recurring symptoms which could lead to the removal of the remainder of the rib to alleviate pressure. I sincerely hope that Hughes is able to get medical treatment he needs and is able to make a complete recovery.
Have a great Wednesday! A wonderful day to grab a victory and hop a plane for the Great Northwest! Let’s Go Yankees!
Twins 4, Yankees 2…
The Baby Bombers tried but without too much help from the veteran leadership, the Yankees fell to the Twins in Minneapolis.
New first baseman Garrett Cooper finally had his coming out party with three hits (two doubles) and his first Major League RBI. Clint Frazier, penciled in at #2 in the lineup, contributed two speed-earned doubles.
The Twins struck first, picking up a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Kennys Vargas walked and scored when Eddie Rosario lined a double to the center field wall. They added another run the next inning. Brian Dozier and Zack Granite both singled, and Joe Mauer walked to load the bases. In one of the game’s great plays, Miguel Sano hit a fly ball to Aaron Judge in right. Dozier attempted to score on the fly ball, but was nailed at the plate by an exceptional throw from Judge to catcher Austin Romine.
|Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/AP|
The Yankees nearly escaped the inning without any damage, but starter Bryan Mitchell, covering first base, botched a catch from second baseman Starlin Castro which allowed Max Kepler to reach base with Granite scoring the Twins’ second run.
The Yankees finally got on the board in the 5th. The inning opened with a challenge play that was ruled in Minnesota’s favor. Didi Gregorius was initially ruled safe at first on an infield hit and headfirst slide, but replay subsequently showed that he was late to the bag as Adalberto Mejia’s foot touched base just before Didi’s hands. With two outs, Garrett Cooper doubled to right center, a smash to the wall. He scored on Austin Romine’s double over the head of right fielder Max Kepler. 2-1, Twins.
The game was tied in the top of the 7th when Chase Headley doubled to left center between the outfielders. He scored on Garrett Cooper’s second double of the game, a solid line drive to left.
Then the game fell apart for the Yankees. In the top of 8th, it looked to have the potential of a big inning that could have given the Yankees the lead. Clint Frazier hit a double to left, motoring around to second without hesitation. Twins reliever Taylor Rogers intentionally walked Aaron Judge to face Matt Holliday. It proved to be the right decision by Twins manager Paul Molitor when Holliday hit into a 6-4-3 double play which erased Judge at second. Frazier moved to third. After taking a big swing for a strike, Didi Gregorius attempted an awful bunt which just bounced up and down at home plate. Twins catcher Jason Castro was able to easily throw out Gregorius for the final out.
In the bottom of the 8th, Yankees manager Joe Girardi opted to stick with Caleb Smith. Smith had entered the game in the 6th inning in relief of Bryan Mitchell. For two innings, he was tremendous in retiring 6 batters with 3 strikeouts. I know it is easy to second guess Girardi after-the-fact, but I felt that Girardi should have brought in one of his veteran relievers for the pressure-packed 8th. Smith’s brilliant two-inning work would have been a great confidence booster in making his MLB debut so it would have been a good place to pull him, especially with the Twins’ 3-4-5 hitters coming up. But Girardi elected to stay with the hot hand. Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano opened the bottom of the 8th with singles off Smith. Mauer’s hit fell just short of Aaron Judge’s sliding glove and Sano’s seeing-eye single made it to left past a sliding Didi Gregorius. After striking out Max Kepler, Smith gave up a single to left by pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar which scored Mauer. Sano moved to third on the play, beating a throw from Austin Romine to Gregorius, and scored when Eddie Rosario doubled, a rolling liner, to right. The Twins had taken a 4-2 lead which would prove to be the game’s final runs. To Smith’s credit, with the bases loaded after an intentional walk, retired the next two batters get out of the inning.
|Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/AP|
The Yankees were unable to muster any offense in the top of the 9th in the rain against Twins closer Brandon Kintzler and went down 1-2-3.
|Credit: Star Tribune|
Doing the little things right could have won this game but it was not meant to be.
The Yankees (47-44) remained 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss. The Sox fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3. The second place Tampa Bay Rays moved 1 1/2 games in front of the Yankees and 2 games behind Boston with their 3-2 victory over the Oakland A’s.
Caleb Smith (0-1) took his first loss of the season after his 8-0 start at Triple A. Bryan Mitchell’s final line wasn’t bad. 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 run unearned thanks to his own error), 2 BB, and 2 SO. Aaron Judge’s post All-Star Game slump continued with his 0-for-3 performance which dropped him to 1-for-21 for the second half. He struck out once.
Odds & Ends…
Michael Pineda’s consultation with Dr Timothy Kremchek for a second opinion has confirmed the need for Tommy John surgery. Dr Kremchek will perform the surgery today in Cincinnati. Although I doubt Michael ever pitches for the Yankees again, I wish him much success with the surgery and a speedy recovery.
Greg Bird will also have surgery on his ankle today. He is expected to be out for six weeks. While it is projected that he could be back in September, I’d find it highly unlikely given he has missed so much time the past two years. Even more unlikely if the Yankees swing a trade for someone like Yonder Alonso or Justin Bour. I hope this surgery puts Bird back on the path to be a contributing member for the Yankees.
Have a great Tuesday! Time to get back in the win column. Let’s Go Yankees!