Baseball is such a rush. It starts in February when pitchers and catchers report, and then slowly builds over the course of the next eight months, reaching the adrenaline rush of the post-season, capped by the exhilarating World Series. Then, nothing. We can only wait and watch as the Yankees beat writers jump from one potential story to another without yielding much fruit.
Things will pick up in a few weeks as we approach the Winter Meetings, but for now, we just have to sit around wondering when the Yankees will give us an indication who they might be considering for the job to lead the 2018 Yankees.
Without much to really think about, here are some of my random thoughts…
Alex Rodriguez, Just Say No…
I can honestly say that I have no desire to see Alex Rodriguez named as Yankees manager. I do not dispute A-Rod’s baseball knowledge and I know that he’s been a positive influence on the younger players during Spring Training but neither of those attributes qualify him as a Major League manager. This is a man who was suspended an entire year for PED use after he had already been implicated with earlier use of performance-enhancing drugs. I was glad to see A-Rod’s time as an active member of the Yankees end and I have no interest in watching him don the pinstripes again (outside of brief Spring Training appearances). As it is, I am tired of the daily “J-Rod” updates. If Alex became the Yankees manager, those daily sightings of Jennifer Lopez and A-Rod would only worsen. I lived through the Bronx Zoo of the 1970’s. I am not willing to entertain the thought of The Bronx Zoo, Part II. So count me among those with no interest in seeing A-Rod become manager of the Yankees.
Jake Cave, Member of the 40-Man Roster…
It took awhile and included a detour through Cincinnati, but Jake Cave finally earned a spot on the Yankees 40-Man Roster when he was added on Monday.
Cave was drafted by the Yankees in the 6th Round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Kecoughtan High School in Hampton, VA. He was left unprotected when he became Rule 5 eligible after the 2015 season and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. He started 2016 Spring Training very hot for the Reds but by the end of camp had cooled considerably. In the end, the Reds opted to keep a 30-year old outfielder (Jordan Pacheco), who was released by the Reds in June 2016, over the then-23 year old Cave. At the time of his return to the Yankees, Reds manager Bryan Price offered the following comments: “He was and is a terrific young player, and we all saw him as a big-leaguer. There was just some limitations on how much playing time I thought I could get him over the course of this year. My big concern was the history with Donald Lutz and Neftali Soto, guys that have come up and really not played much at a very young age and how they were able to deal with that and when they returned to the minor leagues how they performed afterwards, and I would hate to see that happen to Jake as a guy who really got limited playing time early in the season and how that would have affected his long-term development.”
Cave returned to the Yankees but rather than sulk, he continued to work on his craft. He was left unprotected again in 2016 but was not selected in that year’s Rule 5 Draft. His performance in 2017 exceeded expectations as he finished with 20 home runs and 56 RBI’s at AA/AAA combined. His batting line was .305/.351/.542 with .893 OPS in 103 total games. His hard work has been acknowledged by the Yankees and he’ll get an opportunity to go to the Major League Camp with the Yankees in February for the first time.
Cave profiles as a fourth outfielder but he is clearly a success story among Yankees prospects. With guys like Cave and Billy McKinney chomping at the bit, the Yankees need to clear out Jacoby Ellsbury and/or Brett Gardner to make way for the younger guys. I’d hate to see Gardner go but it is Clint Frazier’s time for left field. Aaron Hicks is a better center fielder than Ellsbury. So, I’d prefer to see Hicks and Frazier in the starting outfield with Aaron Judge, and guys like Cave and/or McKinney backing them up.
The Yankees also added reliever Nick Rumbelow to the 40-man roster. Rumbelow had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and missed part of the 2017 season with his recovery. After pitching briefly for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, he was lights out for the Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In 17 games (covering 29 innings) for the RailRiders, Rumbelow was 5-1 and had a sterling 1.12 ERA with 5 saves. He struck out 30 batters, while walking only 8. Rumbelow, like Cave, is a success story. He was released by the Yankees in November 2016 (free to go anywhere like Nathan Eovaldi did when he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays). Rumbelow opted to re-sign with the Yankees on December 15, 2016 and we’re glad he did.
The Yankees still have a number of Rule 5 decisions to make but these were a couple of easy ones. I have no doubt the Yankees will be forced to leave quality talent unprotected for this year’s Rule 5 Draft. GM Brian Cashman, between his managerial interviews and negotiation of a new contract, has his work cut out for him.
Free Agency is Upon Us…
Free Agents became available to talk to other teams on Monday afternoon. Most forecasts show the Yankees to be very limited players in the FA arena as they attempt to avoid MLB’s competitive balance tax and reset future penalties for going above the payroll threshold. Sadly, the Boston Red Sox were able to do that this year, so they’ll be more aggressive this off-season. During the press conference yesterday to announce new Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations, was asked if the luxury tax would be limitation. He responded, “No, I do not”. The same question was posed to Red Sox owner John Henry and he replied with, “Well, (Dombrowski) answered the question. He said he could go over.” I would not be surprised to see the Red Sox go hard and heavy after Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.
Most forecasts that I have seen only show the Yankees signing Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani and CC Sabathia. Without too many moves necessary, I’d be very happy to see the Yankees acquire Otani. There is uncertainty with the current dispute in negotiations between MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball for a new posting agreement. However, Otani took a step in the positive direction by hiring Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to represent him if he is posted and made available to MLB teams this off-season.
I am not overly excited about the anticipated return of Chase Headley to third base for the 2018 season. The question will be whether Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar will be ready. I doubt either one breaks camp as the starter but it could happen sooner rather than later. Headley runs too hot and cold for me. I’d prefer to see greater consistency out of the position to protect the big bats in the lineup. I’d love to see the return of Todd Frazier, but the timing is not right and the Yankees are not in a position to offer a free agent multiple years at third base. For the short-term, we’ll have to deal with Headley.
It was funny yesterday that both Yankees GM Brian Cashman and former Yankees manager Joe Girardi were giving interviews at the same time. It’s tough listening to Girardi as he really sounds like a guy who wanted to be a part of the next great Yankees dynasty. I am surprised that the Washington Nationals didn’t make a run at Girardi with their World Series-caliber roster. But then again, the Nats aren’t known for spending cash on the managerial position and perhaps they were too far down the road with new manager Dave Martinez.
At this point, it appears that Girardi will sit out a year (perhaps taking a broadcasting position) and will emerge as a viable managerial candidate in the 2018 off-season.
The more Cashman talks about communication as a primary reason that Girardi was not re-hired and in particular his relationship with the younger players, it leads me to believe that there are reasons at play that we will never know. Maybe one day when Cashman retires and writes his memoirs.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some genuine Yankees news. These quiet days leading up to the Baseball Winter Meetings next month are tough. I am getting a little tired of watching Houston Astros show up on Saturday Night Live or Carlos Correa discussing how he decided to propose to his girlfriend immediately after the World Series had ended on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Justin Verlander’s wedding pics in Italy are nice, but I want to know about our guys. It is time to get the Yankees back in the news.
As always, Go Yankees!
|Credit: Getty Images|
Yankees 8, Orioles 2…
Didi Gregorius was the man on the field and with the bat on Friday night as the Yankees took down the Baltimore Orioles for the second consecutive day. His brilliant defensive play and 4 RBI’s helped Joe Girardi achieve his 900th career victory as Yankees manager. Of course, it didn’t hurt having the great Luis Severino on the mound.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
The Yankees scored first with a run in the bottom of the 1st inning. Brett Gardner led off with a double to center. Gary Sanchez lined a one-out single to left, moving Gardy to third. A sacrifice fly to right by Didi Gregorius scored the speedy Gardner and the Yankees had the early 1-0 lead.
The Orioles got to Luis Severino in the top of the 2nd for really the only weakness in Sevy’s start. Chris Davis took a two-out walk, and Wellington Castillo followed with a shot to the right field porch to put the O’s in front, 2-1.
Chase Headley, starting at third base when Todd Frazier was scratched due to back stiffness, reached base to start the bottom of the 2nd with a bunt toward third. After Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to center, Matt Holliday lined a single to left, moving Headley to second. Greg Bird hit a grounder to first that was mishandled by Chris Davis (ball went through his legs into right field), allowing Bird to reach base. Headley scored and Holliday advanced to third. The game was tied at 2. The Yankees were unable to bring Holliday home when O’s starter Gabriel Ynoa struck out both Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the 5th, Aaron Judge walked with one out. Buck Showalter went to the pen, replacing Ynoa with reliever Miguel Castro. With Gary Sanchez at bat, Judge stole second with a headfirst slide. El Gary subsequently grounded out with a short bouncer at the plate, but Didi Gregorius didn’t miss the opportunity with a home run to right center to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead.
|Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports|
Greg Bird led off the bottom of the 7th inning with a walk. Brett Gardner hit a grounder between first and second but the O’s were unable to force Bird or get a double play when second baseman Jonathan Schoop misplayed the ball (bounced off his glove). The runners were safe at first and second. Showalter pulled Castro and brought in Mychal Givens. Givens walked Judge to load the bases. Gary Sanchez hit a single to right, a fly ball that dropped in front of Mark Trumbo. Bird scored. Not that I am complaining but I thought it was a lazy defensive effort by Trumbo. Oh well, the Yankees had increased their lead to 5-2. Showalter went to the pen again, this time bringing in former Yankees reliever Richard Bleier. Didi Gregorius hit his second sacrifice fly of the game, a fly to center, scoring Gardner who slid into home just under the great outfield throw. After Starlin Castro lined out to short, Chase Headley singled to right, scoring Judge. The throw in from the outfield easily tagged Sanchez out at third for the final out, but the Yankees had increased their lead to 7-2.
Luis Severino was cruising. He pitched as strongly in the 8th inning as he had earlier in the game, and he finished his day with three up, three down.
Greg Bird added a run in the bottom of the 8th when he hit his 4th home run of the year, a solo shot to right into the second deck off Bleier. It was good to see Bird get good results even if the run was unnecessary at that point. Hopefully he’s on the path to showing us the hitter he was in Spring Training. If he gets hot, the Yankees offense will be very hard to stop.
|Credit: Paul J Bereswill-NY Post|
David Robertson took over for Severino in the top of the 9th. He started off by walking Manny Machado. A wild pitch allowed Machado to move to second. D-Rob was able to retire Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini, but another wild pitch moved Machado to third. But there he would stay as Mark Trumbo flied out to left to end the game. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (81-66) were unable to make up any ground on the Boston Red Sox and still trail by three games. It looked like the Yanks might move to within two games when the Tampa Bay Rays had a 5-2 lead in the top of the 9th with closer Alex Colome on the mound, but the Sox scored 3 runs to tie it and eventually won 13-6 in 15 innings. Although he was not the loser, it was a former Yankee on the mound (Chase Whitley) when Red Sox offense blew the flood gates open. The Yankees did increase their Wild Card lead over the Minnesota Twins to four games. The Twins lost a close 4-3 game to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yanks have a six-game advantage over the third place WC team, the Los Angeles Angels.
Luis Severino is clearly the guy I want on the mound if the Yankees must settle for the Wild Card. He pitched eight strong innings, allowing only three hits and the two runs on the 2nd inning homer. He walked one and struck out seven. As strong as he was pitching, he could have easily finished with a complete game. But at 95 pitches and a six-run lead, it was better to let D-Rob close it out. Sevy (13-6) lowered his season ERA to 2.93 with the performance. Nice job, Sevy!
Didi Gregorius was clearly the hitting star with the home run and 4 RBI’s, but Chase Headley was 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. He did record an out on one of those hits when he tried, unsuccessfully, to stretch a single to a double. Gary Sanchez chipped in two hits and a RBI. Even though he didn’t get a hit, Aaron Judge was still in the mix with two runs scored courtesy of the walks he took. Greg Bird, Brett Gardner and others…this was a great team win!
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
Odds & Ends…
Sadly, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost the Governor’s Cup Finals to the Durham Bulls. The Rays’ top farm team took the championship with a Game Four victory to win the series, three games to one. The RailRiders tried to claw back into the game but fell short, losing 6-4. Brady Lail was the starter and loser.
Now that the RailRiders’ season is over, I wonder if we’ll see the addition of guys like Jake Cave and Miguel Andujar to the MLB roster. I really do not expect to see Chance Adams since the Yankees have no pressure to add him to the 40-man roster this year. Cave, on the other hand, must be protected or he’ll most likely be lost in the Rule 5 Draft. Erik Kratz, I know you’re batting 1.000 (2-for-2) but I think your taxi is here waiting for you. I hope you enjoyed the show.
|Credit: Jason Farmer, Staff Photographer/Times-Tribune|
It was great season for the Yankees farm teams even if the top two clubs were unable to deliver championships. They are gaining the knowledge and experience that will help them deliver World Series championships for the big league team. The bigger picture.
Have a great Saturday! Let’s take the series with a win today. Go Yankees!
|Credit: Corey Sipkin-NY Post|
Red Sox 5, Yankees 1…
Sunday’s loss was a microcosm of the season. In the end, it was about missing the pitches as the Yankees dropped the finale and the series with the Boston Red Sox.
It’s been a difficult season for last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello, but on Sunday, he gave a glimpse why he won the award last year. He held the Yankees to three hits over six innings, and three Red Sox relievers including closer Craig Kimbrel no-hit them the rest of the way.
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Boston scored first with two runs in the bottom of the 2nd. Inevitably, it would be the only runs they would need. Jackie Bradley, Jr’s two-out triple to the center field wall off Yankees starter Sonny Gray scored Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon. The Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Yankees had runners in scoring position from the second through fourth innings but could not capitalize. Finally, in the top of the 5th inning, Brett Gardner lined a shot just inside of the Pesky Pole in right to pull the Yankees within one run, 2-1. But it was the last hit the Yankees would get off Porcello and the Red Sox bullpen.
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
In the bottom of the 6th, the Red Sox added a run against Yankees reliever Adam Warren. Mitch Moreland reached on a single to left, and moved to second on a wild pitch by Warren that went through Gary Sanchez’s legs. A ground out by Sandy Leon moved Moreland to third. Jackie Bradley, Jr didn’t waste the opportunity like so many Yankee hitters had done. His single to right that dropped in front of Aaron Judge scored Moreland and Boston increased their lead to 3-1. Aroldis Chapman was brought in to replace Warren (the earliest he has appeared in a game as Yankee) and he struck out Brock Holt to end the inning.
Credit: Adam Glanzman-Getty Images
The Red Sox added two more runs in the bottom of the 8th. Tommy Kahnle started the inning in relief of Chapman. He couldn’t find the strike zone at all with the first batter, Xander Bogaerts, issuing a free pass on four pitches. Mitch Moreland doubled to left off the Green Monster and the Sox had runners at second and third. Sandy Leon lined a double to the right field corner, both Bogaerts and Moreland scored. 5-1, Red Sox. Kahnle was pulled and replaced by Caleb Smith. A walk and a single loaded the bases with no outs, but Smith was able to retire the next three Red Sox batters to leave the runners stranded.
It didn’t really matter. The Yankees weren’t going to win this game. Craig Kimbrel came on in the 9th and set the Yankees down in order, the last two by strikeouts.
If the Yankees were looking to make a statement in this series, they failed to do it. Boston exhibited superior bullpen strength and their hitters, excluding Saturday, didn’t miss their pitches. The Yankees (66-57) slipped back to five games behind the Red Sox with the loss. The Tampa Bay Rays’ 3-0 win, coupled with a loss by the Baltimore Orioles, moved them back into third place in the AL East. They are 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The O’s lost, 5-4, to the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels picked up a game on the Yankees in the Wild Card standings and trail the Yanks by 2 1/2 games for the top position. The Minnesota Twins, who pummeled the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-5, are also just 2 1/2 games behind.
Sonny Gray (7-8) took the loss. He pitched five innings on a high pitch count (106), allowing seven hits and two runs. He walked two and did not strike anybody out. Run support has not been his friend with the Yankees.
Credit: Steven Senne-Associated Press
If Aroldis Chapman can piece together more outings like his, his name might be back in play for the closer’s role. Adam Warren and Tommy Kahnle have some things to work on.
Brett Gardner, with two hits (a single and a homer), and Chase Headley, with one (a double), were the only Yankees with a hit. Everyone else took an 0-fer.
A win today would have been huge. But it was not to be. The Yankees need to re-group during today’s off-day and come out ready to play on Tuesday. There will be one more shot at the Red Sox. They’ll come to the Bronx for four games over Labor Day Weekend. The AL East is not dead…just wounded. There’s time to heal and show the Red Sox that the Pinstripes are back.
Next Up: The Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit, MI…
The Yankees get a much-needed day off today, hanging around the Motor City, before starting a three-game series with the Tigers on Tuesday.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (8-10, 4.92 ERA)
Tigers: Matthew Boyd (5-6, 5.70 ERA)
Yankees: Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.64 ERA)
Tigers: Buck Farmer (2-1, 6.62 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (10-5, 3.18 ERA)
Tigers: Jordan Zimmermann (7-10, 5.87 ERA)
The Yankees need to win these games. Anything less than two out of three will be a major disappointment. The Tigers stopped a six-game winning streak by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday with a convincing 6-1 victory behind Justin Verlander (making perhaps his final start in a Tigers uniform although I think he stays). A team with nothing to play for has nothing to lose. The Yankees had better be prepared. After the series, the Yankees return home for Player’s Weekend to take on the Wild Card contending Seattle Mariners and the player named “Don’t You Know”.
Odds & Ends…
Greg Bird had the day off on Sunday for his rehab assignment with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but Jake Cave and Miguel Andujar did not as they powered the RailRiders to a 3-0 win over the Durham Bulls. Cave was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, while Andujar was 3-for-4, with a double and a home run, for 2 RBI’s. I am looking forward to seeing these guys in a few weeks when MLB rosters expand. It was a nice pitching performance by Domingo German (5-2), who shut out the Bulls for seven innings on four hits. He walked two and struck out nine. Giovanny Gallegos, with two innings of scoreless relief, got the save.
In anticipation of Masahiro Tanaka’s impending activation from the DL, the Yankees have optioned RHP Bryan Mitchell to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Have a great Monday! A day off…a day closer to the return of good health for Starlin Castro, Greg Bird and others. Go Yankees!
Yankees 4, Reds 2…
Todd Frazier’s Yankee Stadium debut will be hard to forget. I am not talking about the 500 or 600 people that traveled up to the game from Tom’s River, New Jersey. With the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning, Frazier came to bat and promptly hit into an inning-ending triple play. Fortunately, the Yankees squeezed one run out of it but not exactly a stellar debut. Nevertheless, thanks to a magnificent Jordan Montgomery and 2 later RBI’s from the third out of the triple play (Didi Gregorius), the Yankees prevailed over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
The second inning started so nicely for the Yankees. Matt Holliday, Didi Gregorius, and Chase Headley all singled to load the bases with no outs against Reds starter Luis Castillo. It set the stage for Todd Frazier’s Yankee Stadium debut. I was thinking Grand Slam. How beautiful that would have been. But it was not meant to be as Frazier hit a grounder to shortstop Jose Peraza on a 3-1 hitter’s count. After erasing Headley and Frazier, the Reds had Didi hung up between second and third. He had broken for third base and then had second thoughts and ended up running out of the base path for the third and final out but not before Holliday had crossed the plate with the game’s first run.
The Yankees picked up another run in the 4th inning. Aaron Judge singled to right off Castillo and worked his way to third base courtesy of a Matt Holliday broken bat groundout and then balk by the pitcher. Didi Gregorius scored Judge with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Another run came the next inning when Todd Frazier, shaking off the triple play, led off with a single to left. Tyler Wade hit into a fielder’s choice which eliminated Frazier at second. Austin Romine, a high school teammate of Colorado’s great third baseman Nolan Arenado, doubled to the right field corner with Wade motoring around to score the Yankees’ third run. The Yankees loaded the bases after Romine’s double but were unable to cash in when Matt Holliday grounded out to end the inning.
|Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
Jordan Montgomery was amazing. He had a no-hitter going until the top of the 6th inning when Scott Schebler led off with a double to the wall in right center. Schebler ended up scoring when he moved to third on a fly out and came home on a ground out. Monty pitched into the 7th inning and had two outs before he was pulled after giving up a single to Adam Duvall. Tommy Kahnle came on to secure the final out. Montgomery settled for a two-hitter over 6 2/3 innings, allowing the single run and walking a batter, while striking out 6. We’ve been watching Monty “grow up” this season before our very eyes and it has been fun. He does not pitch like a rookie and is showing that he can be an arm to rely upon down the stretch.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-AP|
With the Yankees holding the slim 3-1 lead, things got a little too interesting in the 8th. Dellin Betances, showing that his struggles are not behind him, got into trouble. He walked the first batter, Devin Mesoraco, to immediately start in the hole. After striking out Scott Schebler, he walked Jose Peraza. Zack Cozart pinch-hit for Arismendy Alcantara and hit a grounder into a fielder’s choice, forcing Peraza out at second. Mesoraco moved to third, with Cozart at first. Billy Hamilton doubled to right, scoring Mesoraco and moving Cozart to third. Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough and pulled Betances in favor of Adam Warren. Meanwhile, the Reds replaced Cozart after he aggravated a quad injury running to third base with pinch-runner Robert Stephenson, a starting pitcher (the Reds were down to catchers on their bench). Fortunately, Stephenson, representing the tying run, was left stranded at third when Warren struck out Eugenio Suarez.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees added a much-needed insurance run when Didi Gregorius homered to right center, a solo shot.
|Credit: Charles Wenzelberg-The New York Post|
The Yankees took a 4-2 lead into the 9th inning for closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman, unlike Betances, had no command issues as he easily dispatched the three Reds he faced for his 12th save of the season. Yankees win!
|Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
The Yankees (52-46) moved to within a game of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East Standings with the victory. The Red Sox lost another game in Seattle, this time a 6-5 loss in 13 innings (after the Mariners rallied in the bottom of the 13th trailing the Red Sox, 5-4). The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles, 5-4, to remain 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees.
Ironically, although he has no official RBI as a Yankee, Todd Frazier has driven in two runs with a double play and now a triple play during his brief Yankees career. Hopefully, he’ll start mixing in a few official ribbies.
|Credit: Anthony J Causi-The New York Post|
After the game, Joe Girardi said that it was his intent to avoid using David Robertson in the game. He continues to have confidence in Dellin Betances, as do we, but there’s no question that he needs to work his way out of this funk sooner rather than later.
Sonny Gray Watch…
Okay, I admit it. I am ‘all in’ on the Sonny Gray rumors. He was probably the most scouted major league player during last night’s match-up between Gray’s current (soon to be former) team, the Oakland A’s and the AL East’s very own Toronto Blue Jays. I have to admit that I was channel flipping between games. It was actually a ‘two-fer’ watch with Yonder Alonzo starting at first base.
|Credit: Mark Blinch-AP|
I am still expecting the Los Angeles Dodgers to pull a desperation move but hopefully they are more focused on Yu Darvish assuming the Texas Rangers can be persuaded to sell.
Gray’s outing against the Blue Jays didn’t go so well. Although he didn’t allow any earned runs, the Jays scored four runs against him courtesy of his own throwing error which extended the second inning in the A’s 4-1 loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO. He took the loss, dropping to 6-5 while his ERA was lowered to 3.43.
A number of teams were present to scout Gray at Rogers Centre in addition to the Yankees. They included the Cubs, Dodgers, Brewers, Pirates, Indians, and Royals. Although they were not present, the Houston Astros remain a frontrunner to acquire Gray according to A’s beat writer Susan Slusser.
Here’s hoping that GM Brian Cashman is able to ensure that Gray’s next start will be in pinstripes.
Odds & Ends…
Ex-Yankee relievers seem to be in high demand. Last week, we saw David Phelps traded from the Miami Marlins to the Seattle Mariners and saw him over the weekend. Yesterday, the Chicago White Sox, having already divested themselves of former (and now current) Yankees David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, shipped ex-Yankee reliever Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers. Swarzak had just picked up his first save on Monday after Tyler Clippard failed to close the previous game. I guess it is a curse to effectively close a game for the White Sox this year but I am not complaining. Justin Wilson is probably the next former Yankee reliever on the auction block.
Speaking of ex-Yankees, the Boston Red Sox felt they needed one. They acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez overnight from the San Francisco Giants for a couple of minor league pitchers. Thwarted in their attempt to acquire Todd Frazier from the Chicago White Sox, they had recently called up top prospect Rafael Devers to man third base. The Red Sox press release referred to Nunez as a utility player so he’ll presumably provide insurance for the 20-year-old Devers if the Red Sox opt to continue with plans with the youngster at the hot corner or possibly platoon with him.
Triple A outfielder Jake Cave has been named the International League’s Player of the Week for the week ending July 23rd. Cave was 15-for-26 (.577) with 2 homers and 8 RBI’s. His on-base percentage was .607 and his slugging percentage was .885. He hit safely in all seven games played, with multiple hits in all but two of the games. Since his promotion from Double A, Cave has the most hits (47) of any player in the International League over that period of time. I know that the 24-year-old Cave is desperately seeking a MLB opportunity. If he can’t get it with the Yankees, I hope that he is included in a deadline deal that will allow him to make his MLB debt. He’s earned it.
Have a great Wednesday! One more with the Reds and then bring us the Rays! Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Al Bello-Getty Images|
Yankees 5, Brewers 3…
Finally! A fun and dramatic game. Clint Frazier was the man of the hour with three hits. The first hit broke up a no-hitter by Milwaukee starter Brent Suter in the fifth inning. The second hit brought the Yankees within a run when the ball landed on top of the Stub Hub sign in left for a triple to score two runs. The third hit was a game-winning walk-off home run to left as the Yankees overcame the Brewers on Saturday afternoon.
The first inning didn’t get started on the right foot. After Eric Thames looped a double to right field, Travis Shaw was awarded first base in a controversial “hit by pitch”. The umpire didn’t react until Shaw said something which caused the ump to send Shaw to first base, drawing the ire of Manager Joe Girardi. Girardi could be overheard saying “He called it, you didn’t call it”. The TV replays, to me, were inconclusive. If the ball hit Shaw, it was fabric only but even then, the jersey didn’t move as the ball passed through to the catcher’s mitt.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
Domingo Santana followed with a fly ball just over the right field wall which gave the Brewers an early 3-0 lead.
|Credit: Getty Images|
For the Brewers, it would be the end of their offensive show for the day. Luis Severino made the necessary adjustments (I hope you were watching, Michael Pineda!) and shut the Brewers down for the next six innings. By the time he departed, he had pitched 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and the 3 runs allowed via the first inning home run. He walked two, both in the 6th inning, while striking out 10. It was a no-decision for him but the Yankees do not win this game without Severino’s performance.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
The Yankees had a scoring opportunity in the 2nd inning when Didi Gregorius lofted a fly ball to center. Four Brewers converged at the same time and the ball fell between them for an error on Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia. But the Yankees were subsequently caught with awful base-running. Chase Headley hit a come-backer to the pitcher and the Brewers had Didi caught between second and third. Didi didn’t try to extend the rundown and the Brewers were able to tag Didi out and nail Headley off first base for the double play. If Didi had tried to evade the tag, it would have given Headley the time to get back to first.
The Yankee bats were silent until the fifth inning when Clint Frazier finally collected the Yankees’ first hit off Brent Suter, a two-out single to right. The Yankees weren’t able to do anything with it but it was a start.
After Luis Severino struck out Eric Thames with a runner in scoring position to end the top of the 7th, the Yankees finally got some runs on the board. Chase Headley hit a one-out ground rule double to center. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to move Headley to third. A failed pick-off attempt at first allowed Headley to score while Ellsbury moved to third. Clint Frazier hit a fly ball that momentarily looked to be a home run but it bounced off the lower part of the left field wall for a triple which scored Ellsbury. The Yankees had closed the gap to 3-2. Ji-Man Choi, pinch hitting for Austin Romine, and Ronald Torreyes were unable to bring Frazier home.
Onto the 8th inning and it was time for the Yankees bullpen which has been an Achilles Heel in recent days. Dellin Betances took the mound in relief of Severino. It was a ‘hold your breath’ moment until Betances proved to be the All-Star that he is, allowing everyone to exhale. He induced Ryan Braun to ground out and then struck out both Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana. Whew…Welcome back, Dellin!
|Credit: Corey Sipkin-New York Post|
The Yankees were unable to generate any offense in the bottom of the 8th. Moving to the top of the 9th, Aroldis Chapman replaced Betances. Chapman has struggled with his command in recent games, but not yesterday. Three strikeouts later, it was off the bottom of the 9th with the Yankees still trailing by one run. The Brewers brought in their strong closer, Corey Knebel, who has been a very pleasant surprise for the Brewers this year. Knebel has struck out 72 batters in 41 innings while saving 13 games for Milwaukee. He came into the game having only allowed 5 runs in 41 games. The only knock against him is a tendency to walk too many batters. The weakness appeared right away as Didi Gregorius walked to open the inning on four straight balls. Chase Headley went down swinging but Jacoby Ellsbury, like Didi, also walked on four straight balls as Knebel continued to struggle with his control. So, the Yankees had runners at first and second with one-out when Red Thunder strolled to the plate. After a ball in the dirt, Knebel grooved a 97 mph four-seam fastball down the middle. With his blazing bat speed, Frazier quickly blasted a shot into the left field stands for the game-winning three-run home run as the Yankees won the game, 5-3.
|Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports|
Aroldis Chapman (2-0) was the winner. The Yankees (45-40) were able to pick up a game on the Boston Red Sox so they are 3.5 games out in the AL East. The Tampa Bay Rays remain a game behind the Yankees, courtesy of their 1-0 victory over the Red Sox.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
The Yankees conclude the first half today when Masahiro Tanaka (7-7, 5.25 ERA) takes the mound against Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson (7-4, 3.20 ERA). Hopefully, yesterday’s dramatic win and stellar bullpen work provide the momentum for a new surge by the home team.
Odds & Ends…
The rumor mill is certainly heating up. Within the last 24 hours, it has been reported the Yankees have heavy interest in first baseman Justin Bour of the Miami Marlins and reliever Brad Hand of the San Diego Padres. I am always a little suspect of the trade rumors you openly hear about as GM Brian Cashman generally plays his cards close to the vest. The more likely trades are the ones that you never hear about in advance. I would love to have Hand in the bullpen but the issue is cost. I’d hate to lose Chance Adams or Miguel Andujar (a couple of the names that have been mentioned). There would be a bit of irony with the Marlins (which includes Manager Don Mattingly) sending Bour to New York to be the Yankees first baseman. Bour hit his 20th homer of the year yesterday in Miami’s 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. There’s no doubt he’d be an upgrade over Ji-Man Choi.
|Credit: Ben Margot-AP|
The YES Network’s Michael Kay mentioned an interesting stat during the telecast. Yesterday was the 17-year anniversary of the Yankees’ double-header sweep over the New York Mets which featured games at both home parks. Dwight Gooden and Roger Clemens were the winning pitchers in the subway double-header. It’s hard to believe that it has been 17 years as I can clearly remember that day well. It was a preview of the memorable Fall Classic that would pit the two teams against each other.
Matt Holliday was 2-for-4, both singles, with two runs scored in his rehab assignment for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The RailRiders won the game, 8-1, over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Jake Cave was 3-for-3 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI’s. Miguel Andujar also chipped in a home run.
Have a great Sunday! I am looking forward to more Red Thunder! But, please, no Tyler Clippard. Let’s Go Yankees!