The Minors. Refsnyder heating up.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

AAA. See Game 39, Yankees big league squad game, about the Yanks’ dilemma in the middle infield right now. For Didi (.204) and Drew (.177) aren’t cutting it and 2B Rob Refsnyder had 3 hits, 2 HR and 3 RBI in SWB’s 5-0 win today. Refsnyder is up to .304. But Drew is Didi’s backup at SS, Pirela isn’t considered a SS. Ryan is on the DL (and he can’t hit either). So a Yankees’ offense that needs another bat has one in Refsnyder, but it isn’t as easy as it appears, because Refsnyder isn’t a guy who can also play SS or 3B, and also because both Didi Gregorous AND Stephen Drew are lefty hitters (you can’t platoon them at SS and just put Refsnyder at 2B).  So as much as you would want to bring up Refsnyder, the pieces aren’t falling into place. 1B Kyle Roller had a solo HR and reliever Diego Moreno’s ERA is down to 1.16 after two scoreless innings today. As I have mentioned before, keep an eye on Miguel Sulbaran. Overshadowed by Luis Severino, Sulbaran, a young lefty, has pitched well. With the Capuano callup, Sulbaran was promoted to AAA, made this start, and pitched five scoreless innings in getting the win.

AA:   Trenton lost 10-4. Capuano moving up had a ripple effect. With Sulbaran moving up from AA to AAA today, Luis Niebla went from an excellent  reliever at High A Tampa to starting this AA game. It did not work out well.

High A: 4-1 win for Tampa. DH Mike Ford 2 RBI.

A: Charleston lost 4-1. Joey Maher 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H.

Game 39. Yanks get shutout by KC 6-0.

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Chris Capuano showed some rust, and the Yankees offense showed nothing in a 6-0 loss to KC on Sunday. The loss is the Yankees’ fifth in their last six games, and the offense has gone to sleep in those games.

The Yanks are off Monday and Thursday. In between, they have two games in Washington, which means no DH. Mark Teixeira left today’s game early with a contusion of his toe (X-Rays negative) after a HBP. What the Yanks could do is to play Garrett Jones at 1B one day, A-Rod the other, and give Teix 4 days off.

Capuano (L, 0-1, 12.00) 3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 2 walks and 4 K.
Rogers 2 2/3 IP, 2 R, both unearned, 3 hits, 2 walks and 1 K. 3.24.
Wilson 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K. 5.56.
Shreve 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 2.35.

The Yanks have a dilemma. Jacoby Ellsbury, the leadoff man, is hitting .327. We are almost 1/4 of the way through the season. Ellsbury has 6 RBI. The reason why? It’s the guys at the bottom of the order who are not getting on before Ellsbury comes to bat. Stephen Drew is hitting .177. Didi Gregorious is at .204. There are no rbi opportunities for Ellsbury. No one is on base.

Today, at AAA, Rob Refsnyder had 3 hits, 3 rbi and 2 HR. He is heating up. He is up to .304 (I don’t know about his defense, though). But Refsnyder (or Pirela, currently on the team) isn’t a SS. Pirela has played SS in the minors, but the Yanks don’t consider him a SS. So if the Yanks were to bring up Refsnyder (which, considering their lack of offense, sounds good), who goes? The only legitimate SS backup to Gregorious is Drew. Both hit lefty so it is not like you can platoon the two. What I would love is that whenever Brendan Ryan (a righty hitter) is ready to come back as a backup IF, you get rid of Gregorious or Drew (release Drew, eat the $5MM or trade or demote Didi), bring up Refsnyder, and send Pirela back to AAA or trade him. (I like Pirela, but if you are activating two people, then two people have to g0. If Refsnyder and Ryan are on the team, two people have to be dropped among Pirela, Drew and Didi).

Refsnyder is up to .304. He doesn’t fill needs at SS or 3B. The Yanks have McCann at .237, Beltran at .234, Drew at .177, Didi at .204.  Headley is at .236. Could they use Refsnyder’s bat? Yes. But how to squeeze it in?

The Yanks are 22-17. They still are the leaders in the AL East, by one game over Tampa Bay.

But they cannot continue with a DP combo hitting .177 and .204. But the solution, bringing up Refsnyder, isn’t as easy as it appears, given the situation I described above.

So what to do?

 

The Minors. Big Trenton comeback.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

AAA: SWB won 3-2. Caleb Cotham 6 K in 3 scoreless innings of relief. 1B Kyle Roller a 2-run HR. 2B Rob Refsnyder (.292) 2 hits (heating up) and 2 hits and an RBI for  3B Cole Figueroa.

AA: Trenton scored 4 in the bottom of the 9th to win 5-4. Brady Lail pitched five scoreless innings. 1B Dan Fiorito walk-off, 3-run HR, 2 hits, 4 rbi for the game.

High A:  Tampa split.

In a makeup of the game ppd. on Friday, Tampa won 2-1 in 9 innings, scoring in the bottom of the 9th.  LF Ericson Leonora GW SF.

Regular Game: 6-4 loss. 3 hits, rbi CF Mark Payton. 2 hits, rbi DH Mike Ford, 2 RBI for Leonora.

A: Charleston lost 3-1. RF Devyn Bolansky had two of Charleston’s three hits.

Game 38. It’s Headley! HR keys 5-1 win, snaps losing streak.

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In the movie Blazing Saddles, Harvey Korman’s character keeps having to say that his character’s name is Headley Lamarr, not Hedy Lamarr (the famous actress).

Last night it was Headley (Chase Headley that is) that had the key blow in a 5-1 Yankees win that snapped their four-game losing streak. The Yanks are now 22-16 on the season and have a two-game lead in the A.L. East.

CC Sabathia finally gave us a vintage CC performance.

CC 7 IP, 1 R, 6 H 0 walks and 5 K. (W, 2-5, 4.67).

After that it was the tag team of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, both of whom still have ERAs of 0.00.

Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K. 0.00
Miller 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 0 K. 0.00.

The Yanks scored first, on three walks and a SF, in the top of the third, but CC gave the run right back in the bottom half of that frame.

In the fifth, the Yanks had two on, and Headley was up, two out, full count on him. By this time, KC starter Danny Duffy had already thrown over 100 pitches. While watching the game at a local pub, I thought “he’s over 100 pitches, he has to be getting tired and will make a mistake soon. This is a key at bat, c’mon, Headley…” So sooner did I think that than Headley hit his fifth HR of the season to make it 4-1.

A-Rod added a HR (10, 664* lifetime) in the 9th to make it 5-1. The RBI was #1991 of his career, and the hit #2970. So…. 50 HR behind the Babe, 9 RBI from 2000, 30 hits from 3000. And you wonder why, oh why….

Frankly, I am shocked at how well (.250-10-22) A-Rod is playing after having missed all of 2014 with the PED suspension and having played just 44 games in 2013 due to his second hip surgery. The guy will be 40 at the end of July. Consider this: he has 10 HR so far. The last time he topped 30 in a season? 2008. SEVEN years ago.  He hasn’t hit 20 in a season since 2010, five years ago.

Of course, since 2010 (when he played in 137 games) he has played in the following number of games:

2011: 99; 2012: 122: 2013: 44: 2014: NONE.

Game 35. Yanks fall to Rays, 3-2.

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For the second consecutive evening, the Yankees scored two runs in the first and didn’t tack on. It’s hard to win ballgames when you score only two runs, and for the second consecutive evening, the Yankees lost. This time it was 3-2. The loss on Tuesday evening was 4-2. The loss drops the Yanks to 21-14. They still have a 2-game lead in the A.L. East.

21-14 is a .600 winning percentage, which is or should be a goal for teams. If the Yanks continue at that pace, they’ll have 97 wins, which often is good enough to win the division.

The Yanks scored two in the first on RBI singles by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann but Adam Warren gave up one in the bottom of the first and two in the second.

Warren settled down after that but it was too late.

Warren 7 IP, (L, 2-2, 4.50) 3 R, 7 H, 1 walk and 7 K.
Miller 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 3 K. 0.00

You have to wonder if Warren, who hasn’t been bad, but also not great in the starting role (average) will drop back into a long-man role once Chris Capuano, Ivan Nova and/or Masahiro Tanaka come off the DL, or if the Yanks send down Chase Whitley. If Warren drops back into the bullpen, it should make a strength even stronger. It’ll be interesting to see what move is made when the time comes, and that time isn’t too far off.

The minors.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

AAA: SWB won 4-3. Chris Capuano had a strong rehab outing, 6 IP, 2 R, 7 h, 0 walks and 3 k. Jacob Lindgren with two scoreless innings of relief (1.65). DH Kyle Roller with a 2-run HR. Solo HRs for SS Cole Figueroa and C Austin Romine.

AA:   Trenton won 6-3. The Yanks top pitching prospect may be Luis Severino, but keep an eye on lefty Miguel Sulbaran (3-1, 2.80). Sulbaran is just 21, and is 28-16, 3.23 in his minor league career. 3 R in 6 IP. Cesar Vargas 2 scoreless, and Mark Montgomery one scoreless IP. CF Jake Cave and RF Mason Williams each had three hits and an RBI and DH Aaron Judge drove in two runs.

High A: Tampa lost 12-6. SS Tyler Wade two hits (.350). 3B Miguel Andujar 2 hits, HR, 3 RBI.

A: Charleston lost 10-3. 2 hits, HR, RBI CF Devyn Bolasky.

Game 34. Yanks, Eovaldi, falter, lose to Rays 4-2.

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The Yankees’ offense and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi started strong Tuesday night, but couldn’t keep it up as the Yanks lost to the Rays, 4-2.

The Yanks scored twice in the top of the first on singles by Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran after Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner singled and A-Rod walked to load the bases. Up 2-0, the Yanks still had the bases loaded and no one out but they could not tack on more. Chase Headley struck out, Stephen Drew’s flyout wasn’t deep enough to score a run, and Garrett Jones grounded out.

The inability to tack on more runs proved fatal. Over the next eight innings the Yanks got no more runs and just four more hits.

Nathan Eovaldi was great for six shutout innings, but gave up two in the seventh and two in the eighth to lose the game.

Eovaldi 7 1/3 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 2 walks and 6 K. (L, 3-1, 4.14).
Betances 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 1 K. 0.00.

The loss drops the Yanks to 21-13, 3 games up in the A.L. East.