Category Archives: In-Season Moves

Random thoughts as we head to Opening Day.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I don’t mind the Sanchez 2 Bird 3 lineup. Girardi wants to be certain that both get up in the first inning where if they weren’t 2-3 one of them wouldn’t get up in the first in the event of a 1-2-3 inning. Also more at bats for when the lineup turns over.  Basically it’s subbing Bird in the first inning for Ellsbury (as well as splitting lefty/righty hitters).

I do wonder about Ellsbury fifth, and also have to wonder how temporary that would be and how much lower Ellsbury goes down in the lineup.

For don’t you think that when Didi Gregorius is back, that HE will be hitting fifth, not Ellsbury, and that Ellsbury would then be hitting, say, eighth? Especially since Didi had 20 HR last year and was showing power again in the WBC and in spring training before his injury?

Gardner-Sanchez-Bird-Holliday-Didi-Castro-Headley-Ellsbury-Judge/Hicks when Didi gets healthy?

More random thoughts. It depends on how long Tyler Austin takes to heal, but if Chris Carter continues to be a whiff machine, should he be looking over his shoulder when Austin finally is ready to play?

The coaching staff wanted to bring Gleyber Torres north, even though he has never played above AA. Says a lot. The front office wants him to get more experience in the minors, at least in AA before coming up to the majors. Could be bypass AAA altogether? It just shows how fast he is coming.

I also think Gardner and Ellsbury should be looking over their shoulders. Gardner would be the easiest one to move because of Ellsbury’s prohibitive salary. But with both starting to hit the age of 33 and showing some decline, and with some promising outfielders coming (Fowler, Rutherford, Frazier, McKinney, Mason Williams), I wouldn’t be surprised to see one moved.

In fact, Gardner hasn’t had too good of a spring training. If the Yanks wanted to play their best outfield based on spring training results, the argument wouldn’t be over RF (Hicks or Judge) but CENTER field (Gardner or Ellsbury). They would have Hicks in LF and Judge in RF, for both have done better than Gardner or Ellsbury this spring. Just saying.

Jon Niese re-signed with the Yanks after being released the other day. He’ll stay in Tampa in extended spring training to build up more arm strength. A surgery late last year has him behind.

The next two days are huge in filling out the rotation. Jordan Montgomery starts today vs. Toronto and Luis Severino starts tomorrow vs. the Phillies. It will be very interesting to see how they do and if their performances make them or break them as far as being in the rotation. The Yanks won’t need a fifth starter until April 16.

Pete Kozma (good field/can’t hit water if he fell out of a boat) may make the team with Didi out, then get DFA’d when Didi is ready.  I’d like to see Tyler Wade there instead of Kozma, though.

UPDATE: Wade and Kyle Higashioka were sent down to minor league camp last night.

We’ll see what happens. A lot of decisions on the 25 man roster have to be made in the next few days. The season starts Sunday.

Indians shut out Toronto, go up 1-0.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees trading Andrew Miller to Cleveland and Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs at the trade deadline may prove to be the biggest baseball move of 2016, especially if the Indians meet the Cubs in the World Series.

Miller’s five outs of relief in Game 1 of the ALCS all came by strikeout as he pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief as Cleveland beat Toronto 2-0 Friday night in Game 1 of the ALCS.

Francisco Lindor’s 2-run HR in the sixth was the only scoring.Both starters, Cory Kluber (6 1/3 scoreless) and Marco Estrada pitched well, but Estrada’s one mistake cost him.

Hey, no midges.

Game 2 at 4 pm today.

NLCS Game 1, Cubs/Dodgers tonight at 8.

Game 161. Yanks rally for 7-3 win.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Today is the final game of the season for the Yankees. They are 84-77 after yesterday’s come-from-behind, 7-3 win over Baltimore.

There are three playoff spots still to be decided, and five teams fighting for those spots, so  the possibility of a 163rd game is very real.

Unfortunately the Yanks have already been eliminated, so today is it for this year.

Eventually, the Yanks have to figure out what to do with Luis Severino. It is in their best interest that he develop into a good starter, but his splits this year make you wonder.

As a starter: 0-8, 8.50
As a reliever: 3-0, 0.39

He started yesterday, and gave up 3 runs in just 3 2/3 IP.

After the Orioles scored two off Severino in the third, and another in the fourth on Manny Machado’s 37th HR, the Yanks went to work, scoring one run in each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, and putting the game away with four in the eighth.

In the fifth, Mark Teixeira (whose last game will be today) singled, Chase Headley walked, and Austin Romine grounded into a forceout at third. Tyler Austin singled in a run to make it 3-1.

In the sixth, with two out, Billy Butler and Rob Refsnyder singled, and Headley doubled in a run.

In the seventh, Austin tied the game with his fifth HR of the year. All of his homers have been at home, and all by going the other way to right field.

In the eighth, Jacoby Ellsbury walked with one out. Headley doubled and Romine singled in two runs. After Austin struck out, Ronald Torreyes walked. Brett Gardner doubled in two runs.

Severino 3 2/3 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 2 walks, 3 K. 5.83
Holder 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 0 K. 5.40
Bleier 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk, 0 K. 2.05
Yates 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk, 0 K. 5.23
Clippard (w, 4-6, 3.57 AZ/NYY) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 3 K. 3.08

I’ve seen reports that at the trade deadline, the Yanks were looking at Joe Panik from the Giants as compensation. It didn’t happen, and you wonder what the Yanks would have done with Castro if it did. Move him to 3B? What then with Headley?

As far as WAR (wins above replacement) this year, the Yanks’ best player in 2016 has been Masahiro Tanaka.

Game 152. Yanks blanked, 2-0.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Gary Sanchez can’t come to the rescue and hit a HR every day. He didn’t on Thursday night and his teammates couldn’t step up as the Yanks lost to Tampa Bay 2-0.

Luis Cessa pitched well, giving up a run in the first and a solo HR in the sixth, but with no offensive support….

The loss drops the Yanks to 79-73. They are almost eliminated (E #1) as far as winning the division goes. They are 3 out of the final wild card slot with 10 games to go, and need to jump 4 teams.

Before the game, the Yanks sold Phil Coke to the Pirates.

Masahiro Tanaka will miss his next start because of a forearm strain. If the Yanks are completely out of it, they should then just shut him down for the season.

Cessa (L, 4-3, 4.30) 6 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 2 walks, 6 K.
Severino 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 3 K. 5.70.

Game 150. Sanchez does it again! Yanks win 5-3.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Forgive me for a moment as I play devil’s advocate.

If you are the manager of another team, and the score is tied, and the other team has runners on 2nd and 3rd with two out…

and the HOTTEST hitter in baseball is up at the plate…

do you pitch to him? Or walk him to load the bases for the next hitter, hoping for a force at any base?

And if you are the owner of a manager who decides to pitch to him anyway, only to see that batter hit a 3-run homer that wins the game, do you fire that manager?

For that is exactly what happened in the Yankees’ 5-3 win over Tampa Bay Tuesday night.

Of the 16 outs Michael Pineda recorded for the Yanks tonight, 11 were by strikeout. He gave up a two-run triple in the third to put the Yanks in a 2-0 hole.

Mark Teixeira hit a HR in the fourth to cut it to 2-1. Teix’s 13th HR of the year was #407 of his career, tying him with Duke Snider on the all-time HR list.

In the seventh, Ronald Torreyes and Mason Williams each singled. 1st and 3rd, one out. As I mentioned before, I think the Yanks should look at dealing Gardner for a decent starting pitcher and look into giving the LF job to Williams in 2017. He might platoon with Frazier (Williams vs. RHP,  Frazier or Hicks vs. Lefties).

Gardner singled to tie the game, Williams going to third. Gardner stole 2nd while Hicks (just off the DL) stuck out.

So 2 out. Men on 2nd and 3rd, tie game. Sanchez up and 1st base open. Would you pitch to the hottest hitter in baseball or walk him?

Fortunately for us Yankees fans, Tampa Bay manager pitched to Sanchez. He should be fired for his decision. Sanchez hit a 3-run HR (17) to the delight of us Yankees fans.

Was he kidding? Pitching to Sanchez right now?

Thank you very much, Kevin Cash.

In the 8th, a triple and WP let the Rays score a run.

Pineda 5 1/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 1 walk, 11 K. 4.89
Layne 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K. 3.24 (Bos/NYY).
Once again, Girardi uses Layne for just 1 batter. AAAARGH! At least THIS time, it didn’t burn him.

Severino (w, 3-8, 5.88) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Clippard (H, 23)  1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 2 K. 3.22 (AZ/NYY)
Betances (S, 12) 1 P, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K. 2.79.

Anthony Swarzak was called back to the Yanks, the other day.

The win puts the Yanks at 78-72 with 12 games left.

 

The Minors. SWB evens series with “wild” finish; Trenton loses.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

AAA: Heading into the bottom of the ninth, SWB was down 1-0 and facing a 2 games to none deficit in their best-of-five International League Championship Series. Worse yet, they had only gotten one hit. Many of their stars from this year were with the big club as the Yankees try to push for a playoff spot. Even Mason Williams wasn’t with SWB anymore, since he was brought up to the Yanks yesterday to replace the injured Aaron Judge.

Five batters later, SWB had a 2-1 win, without the benefit of a hit. They got just the one hit all game long.

A walk, walk, HBP, walk to tie the game and yet ANOTHER walk to win it. All without an out being recorded. Talk about winning a WILD one!

The win evens the series at a game apiece.

Phil Coke 7 1/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 walks and 9 K.Cito Culver got SWB’s only hit, a PH double in the 8th.

AA: Trenton lost 4-2 and finds their backs against the wall, down 2 games to none in the best-of-five Eastern League Championship Series. Billy McKinney 2 hits, double and triple. Sebastian Valle 3 for 3 with an RBI.

Game 145. Yanks blanked, 2-0.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I am going to compare two pitchers for you. Each pitcher is over a six year period of his career.

A. Average year over the six year period: 22-8, 2.19. 272 IP, 286 K.

B. Average year over a six year period: 17-7, 2.24, 222 IP, 244 K.

Both are lefties. Both were and are Dodgers.

Pretty damn close, right? The big difference is that A pitched in a 4-main rotation, B in a five-man.

Pitcher A is Koufax, 1961-1966. Pitcher B is Kershaw, 2010-2015.

The Yanks of course, faced Kershaw on Wednesday. No easy feat.

Rain and a recent back injury kept Kershaw to only 5 innings vs. the Yanks, but in those 5 innings, he gave up 0 runs and only 1 hit. The bullpen for the Dodgers was just as good as the Dodgers beat the Yanks, 2-0.

The Yanks got just 3 hits and struck out 14x.

Both Dodger runs came in the top of the ninth, and both runs were unearned due to errors by Castro and Betances.

Before the game, the Yanks called up Mason Williams to replace the injured Aaron Judge. After the game, the Yanks signed recently released Billy Butler (1B/DH) to a contract. Butler was previously with KC and Oakland in his career.

The Yanks fall to 77-68. 17 games left in the season. They have an 11 game road trip that starts with 4 in Boston.

Pineda 4 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 walks, 5 k. 4.94.
Layne 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 k. 3.40 (Bos/NYY)
Severino 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks 1 K. 5.98.
Clippard 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 2 K. 3.02 (AZ/NYY)
Betances (L, 3-5, 2.33) 1 IP, 2 R, BOTH UNEARNED, 1 H, 0 walks, 1 K.