Red Sox 5, Yankees 4…
The Yankees paid $86 million for Aroldis Chapman to blow last night’s game. The bad with the good. I’ve been concerned about Chapman for a few weeks now, actually dating back before he went on the DL. His struggles with command have largely flown under the radar given the horrific stretches encountered by both Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances. I thought maybe Chapman’s contract might look bad toward the end but not in the first year. For the same money, the Yankees could have signed Kenley Jansen in the off-season. Jansen earned his 22nd save last night for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is 4-0 with 0.93 ERA. Chapman has 8 saves and 3.92 ERA. Granted, Chapman could have used some defensive help in the 9th so to his defense, it was not entirely his fault. I think Chapman will be alright and a force in the second half.
The game was a struggle for Jordan Montgomery, laboring every inning he pitched. Even if he did give up 6 hits and 3 runs in 4 innings worked, it could have been much worse. So credit to him for not rolling over. The Red Sox had runners in scoring position in the first two innings but failed to get them home. They finally broke through in third inning after the Yankees had taken a 1-0 lead. With Xander Bogaerts at first (single), Hanley Ramirez hammered a Montgomery fastball over the Green Monster in center to give the Sox a 2-1 lead.
The Red Sox picked up a third run in the 4th inning. Sam Travis opened with a walk off Montgomery. Christian Vasquez ripped a single to left, runners at first and second. Deven Marrero hit an infield grounder to Didi Gregorius who fired the ball to Ronald Torreyes at second in an attempt to get the force out but Torreyes took his eyes off the ball and it glanced off his glove for an error to load the bases. Montgomery was able to retire Mookie Betts on a pop up but Dustin Pedroia singled to left to score Travis, 3-1 Sox. A subsequent double play with the bases still loaded prevented any further damage.
In the top of the 5th, the Yankees led off with a double by Chase Headley. Brett Gardner lined a one-out single to right to score Headley. Gary Sanchez, the Sanchino, followed with his 14th home run of the year, a high fly ball that sailed out of Fenway Park in left, and the Yankees had taken a 4-3 lead.
|Credit: CJ Gunther-EPA|
The Yankees bullpen took over in the bottom of the 5th. Chad Green was spectacular, working two innings with no hits and 5 strikeouts. Adam Warren despite giving up two singles in the 7th, kept the Sox off the board. Dellin Betances hit Mitch Moreland with a pitch in the 8th but otherwise was great with three strikeouts.
The Yankees were unable to add any insurance runs against Sox starter Drew Pomeranz and the Red Sox bullpen (who held the Yanks hitless for the final 3 innings) so it was off to the bottom of the 9th and closer Aroldis Chapman.
I hate to re-live this inning but here we go. Mookie Betts reached first on an infield single to deep short. Dustin Pedroia followed with a grounder to short. The throw from Didi Gregorius to Ronald Torreyes at second was too high and Torreyes had to jump to catch the ball, taking his feet off the bag. Betts safe at second, Pedroia at first. A double steal moved the runners to second and third. Xander Bogaerts hit an infield grounder to Torreyes and he was unable to handle it for his second error of the game. Betts scored the tying run. The Yankees intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez to load the bases. Chapman then struggled to find the strike zone with Andrew Benintendi and walked him on a 3-1 count, bringing home Pedroia with the winning run. Defeat with no balls out of the infield…a disappointing loss.
|Credit: Stuart Cahill-Boston Herald|
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Los Angeles Angels, 2-1, in 10 innings to take sole possession of 2nd place in the AL as the Yankees (45-42) dropped to third. The Yankees are 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox and a game behind the Rays.
Oh, By The Way…
The news for the second half is certainly not starting off on the right foot. With Michael Pineda’s diagnosis of a flexor muscle strain and a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow, there’s a strong possibility for Tommy John surgery. He’ll seek a second opinion but this is not good news. Considering this is his “walk” year, I wonder if he’ll go the way of Nathan Evoldi who was released and later signed by the Tampa Bay Rays. With Bryan Mitchell scheduled to start Game 1 of Sunday’s double-header and Luis Cessa next week in Minneapolis, the rotation is looking very shaky. I am sure that the Oakland A’s and Pittsburgh Pirates are salivating over the potential price tag they can assign to Sonny Gray and Gerrit Cole. My fear is that the desperation forces the Yankees to part with Chance Adams in addition to other high-ranking prospects to acquire an established starter. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will be throwing Chris Sale and two former AL Cy Young Award winners at us this weekend.
I had my doubts that Pineda would be back next year but this probably seals it for his departure.
Scouts from other teams seem to think that Chance Adams is Major League ready but according to the Yankees, he still needs to work on his command and his third pitch. That’s more involved than a start or two so it’s anybody’s guess when we’ll see Adams in the Bronx. I think he’s potentially more effective than Luis Cessa but they didn’t ask me. Maybe it is Caleb Smith that gets the next call.
|Credit: Fred Adams-Times Leader`|
Oh yeah, and Greg Bird has inflammation in the Os Trigonum of his right ankle and surgery is a strong possibility (if so, 6-8 weeks recovery).
The roster moves made in advance of yesterday’s game with the Red Sox were the activation of DH Matt Holliday and the purchase of 1B Garrett Cooper’s contract from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Making room were the placement of Michael Pineda on the disabled list and the demotion of Rob Refsnyder to SWB. Cooper was thrown to the wolves immediately as he made his Major League debut last night in Boston. Yeah, Garrett, Yankee games can be intense. Welcome to the Pinstripes!
Cooper started last night’s game although he was 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts in his MLB debut.
Odds & Ends…
It is interesting that the Yankees played the fewest games (86) in the first half of any team according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. The team is scheduled to play 52 games in the next 55 days and of course they have 3 games in the next 2 days. With no days off, they play games on the road in Minneapolis and Seattle before they get a break (which of course will be consumed by a cross-country flight to return home from the Pacific Northwest). No rest for the weary…
Have a great Saturday! I’ll be out on my Harley so hopefully the Yankees bring home a victory against the great Chris Sale. Let’s Go Yankees!
Aw shucks, do we really hafta?…
I have to admit the break was very nice. I took full advantage of it and enjoyed every minute. But alas, all good things must end. Time to get back to baseball and hopefully what will be a very productive second half for the Pinstripers.
I am glad the Chicago Cubs laid the Jose Quintana rumors to rest. It was a serious overpay (in my opinion) and I don’t think the cost was worth the top prospects in the organization. So, congratulations to GM Brian Cashman for his restraint. There’s no doubt we need pitching but we’ll just have to find another well, and hopefully a less costly one. The long term view is still the best view in the house. I am sure teams will now move to other rumored trade targets, ramping up the cost for guys like Yu Darvish or Gerrit Cole (should they be placed on the market). I’d rather see Chance Adams get a chance at some point rather than his inclusion in a trade for an older, more established pitcher.
|Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports|
With less than three weeks to the trading deadline, Thursday should just be a slight preview of the days ahead as teams jockey for position.
I thought yesterday’s trade for first baseman Garrett Cooper was a chance worth taking. Why not?…the Yankees do not have anything to lose. By trading Tyler Webb, it was an indication that he didn’t fit into their long-term plans. Plus, he tied up a valuable 40-man roster spot which will be a premium in the off-season when the Yankees have to decide whom to protect and whom to potentially expose to the Rule 5 Draft. Every move made today has ramifications on the off-season so I am sure that Cashman is being both near- and far-sighted at the same time. Ji-Man Choi has had a couple of nice home runs but I am not sold on him as a Major League first baseman. If he falters, it is nice to know that Cooper is waiting in the wings. He probably represents an upgrade over Mike Ford (currently on the DL for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre).
Stay tuned as I am sure we’re in for a ride.
I honestly did not think Aaron Judge would win the Home Run Derby last Monday. The win didn’t surprise me and I certainly loved watching the incredible show as much as anyone. But there was so much hype about him going into the Derby, I felt the weight of expectations would be too much. Between Judge and Gary Sanchez, I thought Sanchez would be the one to persevere. So, my apologies to Aaron and congratulations on the tremendous win. Now, in one of those bottom of the 9th at-bats when the Yankees are trailing and you represent the tying or winning run, please feel free to mix in a tape measure, Statcast-blowing blast instead of the usual strikeout. I am not trying to be critical of Judge and I am very appreciative of his consistent contributions game by game…but…outside of Clint Frazier’s recent walk-off, the bottom of the 9th at Yankee Stadium has generally meant three outs in recent weeks.
No All-Star Game recap from me, but it was tough to see a “formerly” beloved ex-Yankee hit the home run to win the game and another “probably still” beloved ex-Yankee save the win. Robinson Cano hurts more than Andrew Miller since the added measure (salt in the wound) was that Cano on the team as an injury replacement for current Yankee Starlin Castro. The losses of Cano leaving via free agency and the trade of Miller (not his fault) still sting. If Cano was still a Yankee, we’d probably be talking about the potential future retirement of his number. Now, Gary Sanchez gets the honors and Cano has a career that you primarily only see through box scores unless you live in Seattle.
Next Up: Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston, MA…
The Yankees get a very quick and hard test to open the second half. They’ll travel to Boston to play the first place Red Sox for four games in three days. The break, outside of Chris Sale, gave the Sox the opportunity to reset their pitching rotation. With Sale pitching Tuesday’s All-Star Game, he’ll take the mound on Saturday. But we’ll see the top 4 pitchers in Boston’s rotation for this series. So no fifth starters this go-around. The Red Sox are starting to play like everyone expected although they did lose their most recent series when they were beaten by the Tampa Bay Rays, the team currently tied with the Yankees for second place in the AL East. If Boston finds a solution for their third base problem and perhaps more arms for the pen, they’ll be a formidable team although at this point, I’d have to say the Houston Astros are the likely winners of the ALCS regardless of who they play.
By catching closer Craig Kimbrel in the All-Star Game, I am hopeful that Gary Sanchez picked up a thing or two to use during his at-bats. I think he was surprised at the movement of Kimbrel’s pitches from the catcher’s point of view. Very weird to see a Yankee catch a Red Sox pitcher.
The Red Sox can be beaten but not by the Yankees team we saw the last couple of weeks. They’ll need to rise to the challenge. I hope that Dellin Betances can right the ship once and for all. The same goes for Masahiro Tanaka. I only hope that we are not forced to use Tyler Clippard in a critical situation.
As expected, the Yankees have sent Starlin Castro to Double-A Trenton on a rehab assignment. They also released Chris Carter after he cleared waivers so there will be no Carter Experiment III.
Have a great Friday! Let’s start the second half off right with a win in Beantown! Let’s Go Yankees!
Mini Cooper he is not…
The Yankees have made their first trade of July 2017 with the acquisition of Garrett Cooper, a first baseman for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Triple A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. When I first heard that the Yankees had traded lefty reliever Tyler Webb to Milwaukee to acquire Cooper, I admit that I was skeptical. I have not been following the Brewers farm system nor did I watch this week’s Triple A All-Star Game. If I had, I would have realized that the Yankees have acquired a promising first baseman which happens to be a great need.
Cooper was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for the week ending July 9th. He was also the starting first baseman for the PCL in the Triple A All-Star Game yesterday. He has steadily progressed through the ranks. He was taken in the 6th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Brewers, and is considered a “late bloomer” in the midst of a breakout year. Cooper is currently hitting .366 with 17 HR and 82 RBI in 75 games for the Sky Sox. There’s not much doubt he’ll soon be the latest Baby Bomber in Pinstripes even if he has never played a game for the organization. He’s 26 and is a “big boy” (6’6″, 230 lbs). He has benefited from the altitude of Colorado Springs and playing in a hitters’ league but why not roll the dice.
After watching the Chicago Cubs send their top prospect, outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the #5 prospect in the MLB according to Baseball America’s midseason update, and other prospects to the Chicago White Sox for starting pitcher Jose Quintana, it’s clear that the cost of pitching is astronomical (as if we didn’t know that already). There’s no way I would have signed off on a deal to send Gleyber Torres or even Clint Frazier to the White Sox for Quintana. Let the Cubs fork over the farm. This reinforces that the Yankees should stay the course and continue to build for the next few years and avoid the “quick fix” for the Wild Card. So, I am okay with the under-the-radar moves that do not cost high-ranking prospects.
I hated to see Webb go as I’ve liked the pitcher and I was excited that he finally had his opportunity at the big league level. I felt that he performed well in his few appearances for the Yankees. He obviously was not one of Joe Girardi’s “go to” guys in the pen but he played a valuable support role. I guess all things considered, this was a modest cost for a guy who has torn apart Triple A pitching. How that translates to the Major Leagues only time will tell. But if my name was Ji-Man Choi, I’d probably be packing my bags. Yanks will want to see how Cooper performs in the International League before making his MLB debut but the guy with the similar name to the actor who played Lou Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees is on his way. If he fields his position, knocks in a few runs, and doesn’t kill rallies by hitting into double plays, he’ll be better than anything we’ve seen yet at first base.
Cooper has been assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Welcome to the Yankees, Garrett!