Game 19: Rubber Game

(Nate Shron/Getty)
(Nate Shron/Getty)

The Yankees and Mets split the first two games of the Subway Series and the games were pretty similar — one team beat up on the other team’s starter and put the game out of reach early. My guess is we’ll see a much closer game tonight. Just a guess. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. SS Stephen Drew
  9. 2B Gregorio Petit
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It was really nice out in New York earlier today but it got pretty cloudy by the late afternoon. There’s no rain in the forecast or anything like that though. Tonight’s game will begin just after 8pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: Jacoby Ellsbury (hip tightness) is feeling better but Joe Girardi told reporters he wants to give him an extra day. They’re planning to have him back in the lineup tomorrow … Brendan Ryan (calf) will begin playing in Extended Spring Training games next week.

Chase Whitley to be called up to make spot start Tuesday

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Right-hander Chase Whitley will be called up to make a spot start this coming Tuesday, Joe Girardi told reporters this afternoon. The Yankees have been talking about using an occasional sixth starter to give the rotation extra rest whenever possible for weeks now, and this will be the first time they actually do it.

Nathan Eovaldi is starting tonight and Adam Warren will start tomorrow, in the series opener against the Rays. With Whitley going Tuesday, it means Masahiro Tanaka will pitch Wednesday and Michael Pineda will start the series opener at Fenway Park on Friday. Thanks to Whitley and Thursday’s off-day, Pineda will have two extra days of rest.

Whitley, 25, has a 2.12 ERA (2.85 FIP) in three starts and 17 innings for Triple-A Scranton this year. He’s thrown as many as 89 pitches in a game this year and will be on one extra day of rest Tuesday. Whitley had a 4.60 ERA (3.69 FIP) in 12 big league starts last year, but the first seven were great (2.56 ERA and 2.74 FIP) and the last five were awful (8.18 ERA and 5.36 FIP).

It’ll be interesting to see how the Yankees get Whitley onto the roster. Send down Chase Shreve then call up, say, Branden Pinder or Matt Tracy after the spot start? The Yankees have no shortage of bullpen call-up options. It could simply come down to who is rested and ready to pitch Wednesday, assuming Whitley does go back down after the spot start.

DotF: Pirela begins rehab assignment, Judge and Bird hit back-to-back homers in Trenton’s win

UTIL Jose Pirela has been added to the High-A Tampa roster, the team announced. This officially kicks off his 20-day minor league rehab window. Also, RHP Andrew Bailey was assigned to Extended Spring Training. Not sure what’s going on there.

Triple-A Scranton (8-3 win over Pawtucket)

  • CF Slade Heathcott: 2-4, 2 R, 1 BB — on base 14 times in his last six games with zero strikeouts
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 3-5, 1 R, 1 RBI — 5-for-8 (.625) after an 0-for-15 slump
  • 1B Kyle Roller: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-4, 1 BB — in a 4-for-32 (.125) slump
  • C Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 PB
  • LHP Matt Tracy: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 5/3 GB/FB — 31 of 45 pitches were strikes (69%) … this is only his second appearance of the year because he’d been stuck in DFA limbo for a while
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 6/1 GB/FB – 27 of 42 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — nine of 17 pitches were strikes (53%) … left the game after being hit by a comebacker in the leg, according to Donnie Collins … he wasn’t limping and it appeared to be precautionary
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 15 of 21 pitches were strikes (71%)

[Read more…]

Seeing and Believing

Note: This was written Thursday and Friday afternoons before anything in the Subway Series went down. Past me is sure that everyone is reacting calmly and rationally to Friday’s and Saturday’s games.

As you read this, there’s a decent chance I’m staring at a computer screen, specifically, reviewing and marking up the papers my students wrote about A Streetcar Named Desire and submitted on Friday. They were asked, as they usually are, to take in some information, digest it, and spit it back as an analytical (or creative) product. While my role as a baseball writer has diminished over the years, and I haven’t written an essay since 2011, it’s easy for me to relate to my students’ task.

Generally, I observe something during a game or a set of games, then look up the corresponding information — the numbers, the facts, the figures — and produce something for consumption. As much as possible and as frequently as possible, I attempt to ground this product in something empirical; and if you’re reading this here at RAB, it’s likely that you, too, have an appreciation for that same hard data. This does not mean, of course, that I eschew the visuals of the game, or just the experience of the game, when making observations and evaluations, and that brings me to the 2015 Yankees.

Though the tone of this piece is going to be generally positive, generally optimistic, I did find myself being a touch realistic earlier in the week when one of my students in study hall proclaimed that the Yankees would “suck” in 2015. Calmly, teacherly, I explained that the Yankees will likely not “suck” but will probably be mediocre. Objectively, this makes sense; their rotation has upside, but also questions marks. Similarly, their lineup has potential, but it has the same question marks. He quickly got back to his math or science or whatever I couldn’t actually help him with, and that’s when I thought of this piece.

2013 and 2014 were frustrating seasons and the hangover from both of them has no doubt tempered my expectations for 2015. By the end of each of those seasons, there were few reasons to watch, mainly Mariano Rivera’s, Andy Pettitte’s, and Derek Jeter’s farewell tours and the emergence of Dellin Betances. But let’s be honest: those seasons didn’t feel all that great for most of them, Vernon Wells’ April explosion notwithstanding. It’s early, sure, but this year feels different.

Masahiro Tanaka is beginning to Masahiro Tanaka. Michael Pineda is Big Mike-ing all over the place. Dellin Betances may be rounding back into form. CC Sabathia is striking lots of people out. Mark Teixeira is hitting nothing but extra base hits. And then there’s Alex Rodriguez. While I was already inclined to root for the guy, I feel that his at-bats are, once again, appointment viewing; I get slightly peeved when I miss his trips to the plate for whatever reason.

Even the down things give me a sense of excitement and enjoyment that just weren’t always there in 2013 and 2014 — don’t get me wrong, I love watching the Yankees and hung on to the bitter end in each of those years, but those years weren’t exactly fun…but I digress. Something as uncomfortable as watching Didi Gregorius go through a fielding slump has been at least slightly pleasurable to watch. His range is something we’ve not seen at short in a long time (how many times have we said: ‘That’s an RBI single last year…) and arm has not failed to impress me on throw after throw.

This is all a long way to say something similar to what I said in my first piece here about Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi: I’m choosing to be optimistic about the 2015 Yankees. Seeing is believing and from what I’ve seen this year, I believe, even a little. And it feels good.

Mets rock Sabathia, Yankees fall 8-2 in second game of Subway Series

Source: FanGraphs

Well that was a bummer. The Yankees followed up their convincing win in the Subway Series opener with a clunker on Saturday afternoon, losing 8-2 to the Mets. The four-game winning streak has been snapped, but the Yankees have still won seven of their last nine games. It’s Saturday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Sad-bathia: Unlike CC Sabathia‘s first two starts, which had quite a bit of good sprinkled around the One Bad Inning™, Saturday’s start was a disaster. Sabathia gave up three homers and nine total hits in five innings, surrendering seven runs. It would have been a lot more without some stellar defense. The four-run fourth inning rally all happened with two outs and against the bottom of the order. Sabathia had nothing to stop the bleeding. He fooled no one.
  • Swing Early: Matt Harvey threw one stressful pitch on Saturday. That was Jacoby Ellsbury‘s double play in the third inning, which simultaneously drove in the Yankees’ first run and killed their best chance for a big inning. The lineup had a clear plan to swing early in the count — Harvey faced 32 batters and 18 of ‘em swing at the first and/or second pitch — and the result was this pitch count by inning for Harvey: 11, 12, 12, 10, 11, 11, 14, 10, 16. The Yankees were overmatched.
  • Leftovers: The bottom three hitters in the Mets’ lineup went 8-for-12 (.667). The top six hitters went 4-for-28 (.142). That is capital-A annoying … Mark Teixeira hit a garbage time solo homer in the seventh. He now has eight homers, four doubles, and three singles in 2015 … Teixeira went 3-for-4 and the rest of the lineup went 2-for-27 (.074) … Esmil Rogers allowed a run in three innings of mop-up work … Jacoby Ellsbury left the game with a hip issue and is day-to-day.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also, here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Mets wrap up the Yankee Stadium portion of the 2015 Subway Series on Sunday night, in the ESPN game. They have another one of those next week too. Nathan Eovaldi and Jon Niese will be on the mound.

DotF: Avelino stays hot in Charleston’s win

Triple-A Scranton (4-1 loss to Pawtucket)

  • CF Slade Heathcott: 0-3, 1 E (fielding)
  • DH Ramon Flores: 1-3, 1 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-3, 1 K, 2 E (fielding, throwing) — that’s seven errors in 14 games after 12 errors in 122 games last year
  • LF Tyler Austin: 0-2, 1 K
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 7 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 11/6 GB/FB — 62 of 99 pitches were strikes … great start, too bad his defense didn’t cooperate

[Read more…]

Saturday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the evening. MLB Network is showing a regional game tonight plus there’s a bunch of NBA and NHL postseason games going on as well. Talk about any of those games or anything else right here.