Bronx Pinstripes | BronxPinstripes.com http://bronxpinstripes.com Bronx Pinstripes - A New York Yankees Community for the Fans, by the Fans Fri, 14 Aug 2020 21:50:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 http://bronxpinstripes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/cropped-BP-Icon-Retina-32x32.png Bronx Pinstripes | BronxPinstripes.com http://bronxpinstripes.com 32 32 Aaron Judge to the IL with a calf strain http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-injuries/aaron-judge-to-the-il-with-a-calf-strain/ Fri, 14 Aug 2020 21:44:36 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81376 Prior to Friday night’s game with Boston, the Yankees announced that they placed Aaron Judge on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to 8/12) with a “Very mild” calf strain. Taking his place on the big league roster is utility infielder Thairo Estrada. Prior to tonight's game, the Yankees placed OF Aaron Judge on the 10-day IL with a right calf strain (retroactive to 8/12) and recalled INF Thairo Estrada (#71) from the Alternate Site. — New York Yankees (@Yankees) August […]

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Prior to Friday night’s game with Boston, the Yankees announced that they placed Aaron Judge on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to 8/12) with a “Very mild” calf strain. Taking his place on the big league roster is utility infielder Thairo Estrada.

Obviously, this news is very frustrating as Judge was off to a very hot start. His nine home runs still lead all of baseball and h .290/.343/.758 put him firmly in MVP contention. Now, he joins Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list as the Yankees look to replace the production of the two towering sluggers.

During his press conference Friday, Boone stated that the injury was not believed to have come from Tropicana Field but instead just general wear and tear.

Regardless, it is concerning the alarming number of injuries that have sidelined Judge during his career. Meanwhile, the Yankees will use a lineup featuring an outfield of Hicks, Tauchman and Gardner with Frazier slotted in as DH. While Boston has struggled this season, this is certainly not the lineup we were hoping to see.

Continue to follow the Bronx Pinstripes team for all the latest news and updates regarding Aaron Judge’s injury status.

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Chad Green is off to an exceptional start http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-stats/chad-green-is-off-to-an-exceptional-start/ Fri, 14 Aug 2020 15:13:48 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81339 For the past few years, the Yankees’ bullpen has been simply outstanding. While the Bombers have struggled to cement a strong starting rotation, they’ve been able to consistently rely on all-star relievers each and every night. Since 2017, Chad Green has been one of the most dependable arms in the Yankees’ pen. He has solid control, consistent stuff, and his calm demeanor on the mound exudes a quiet confidence. His numbers from 2017 to 2019 support what the eye test […]

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For the past few years, the Yankees’ bullpen has been simply outstanding. While the Bombers have struggled to cement a strong starting rotation, they’ve been able to consistently rely on all-star relievers each and every night.

Since 2017, Chad Green has been one of the most dependable arms in the Yankees’ pen. He has solid control, consistent stuff, and his calm demeanor on the mound exudes a quiet confidence. His numbers from 2017 to 2019 support what the eye test has told most Yankee fans: Green is gold.

Here are some of Green’s key stats for the 2017-2019 seasons:

  • 213.2 Innings Pitched
  • 2.82 ERA
  • 1.006 WHIP
  • 156 ERA+ (100 being league average)
  • 2.66 FIP
  • 12.4 K/9

Good, Not Great in 2019

While Chad has been excellent during his tenure in pinstripes, it’s fair to say that he had a down year last season. He was definitely good, but he wasn’t great. In 2019, Chad posted his highest ERA (4.17), his highest WHIP (1.232), his highest FIP (3.34), and his lowest ERA+ (107). Chad also gave up more home runs in 2019 (10) and allowed more walks (19) than he had in any other season. Green’s workload wasn’t any greater in 2019 than it had been in previous seasons, but he clearly wasn’t as sharp in his third full year as a reliever.

Call It a Comeback

Fortunately, Chad has been great to start the 2020 season. In fact, he’s been better than great. He’s been nearly perfect. Here are his numbers through the team’s first eighteen games:

  • 11 Innings Pitched
  • 0.82 ERA
  • 0.364 WHIP
  • 515 ERA+
  • 1.16 FIP
  • 12.3 K/9
  • 4 BB
  • 0 HR

These numbers are unreal. They’re so good that they’ll inevitable have to come back down to earth before the end of the season. The great news, though, is that Chad’s expected numbers are also excellent. He isn’t getting lucky, he’s pitching like one of the top hurlers in the the game. Here are some of his expected stats according to Statcast:

  • .127 xBA (Top 3% of MLB)
  • .191 xSLG (Top 4% of MLB)
  • .170 xwOBA (Top 2% of MLB)
  • 1.20 xERA (Top 2% of MLB)

While Chad might not have a 0.82 ERA and 0.364 WHIP come October, we can expect his numbers to be exceptional if he continues to pitch the way he has thus far.

An Improved Slider

One notable aspect of Green’s performance this season has been his success with the slider. Chad’s fastball has always been his best pitch, and it still is this season (he has yet to surrender a hit off of his fastball in 2020!). His slider, however, has proven to be a more potent weapon than ever before.

Green is throwing his slider 23.2% of the time in 2020, which is more than he threw the pitch in 2017, 2018, or 2019. He’s throwing it slightly slower this season (83.5 MPH average in 2020 versus 85-87 MPH the previous three years), but the ball has more spin than ever before. With more movement, Green’s slider has become a more reliable put-away pitch. The put-away percentage for Green’s slider (the percentage of times a pitch results in a strikeout when thrown with two strikes) is up to 27.3% versus 20.8% last year.

If Chad continues to throw the slider well, then he’ll have a lethal pitch that perfectly complements his elite fastball. That’s great news for Yankee fans, and bad news for the rest of Major League Baseball.

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Gio Urshela: From depth piece to budding superstar third baseman http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-stats/gio-urshela-superstar-third-baseman/ Thu, 13 Aug 2020 19:18:45 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81341 The winter after the 2018 season, the Yankees didn’t make a move for Manny Machado. We didn’t know it at the time, but there was a prize starting pitcher they had their sights on, as well as the fact that they thought they had their third baseman of the future. The thing is, the Yankees had the wrong guy in mind. Neither the Yankees nor Gio Urshela himself could have imagined the hot corner would belong to him the way […]

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The winter after the 2018 season, the Yankees didn’t make a move for Manny Machado. We didn’t know it at the time, but there was a prize starting pitcher they had their sights on, as well as the fact that they thought they had their third baseman of the future. The thing is, the Yankees had the wrong guy in mind. Neither the Yankees nor Gio Urshela himself could have imagined the hot corner would belong to him the way it has. Who knew things would turn out the way they did for a depth piece added for cash considerations to the Blue Jays.

Gio Urshela has become the Yankee version of Justin Turner and Max Muncy. Here are these guys who were castoffs from their former teams that have gone on to put up the type of superstar numbers you expect from guys who make $300 million for 10 years. The difference is – and it is to the chagrin of the depth pieces turned household names – they come dirt cheap.

The estimated value for Gio Urshela in 2019 according to Fangraphs was $24.9 million. So far in these few short games Gio’s estimated price has been valued at $5 million. That number will only rise as the season goes on. What he’s actually making this year though is only $2 million. To call him and Luke Voit the heist of the century is an understatement because the guys like them, your Machados and Paul Goldschmidts, are multi-millionaires.

2020

2020 has been bad for a lot of people. Professionally, for Gio Urshela, it has been a hell of a year. The debate of whether he’s for real were quickly quelled by the time the Red Sox came to the Bronx for the first time.

His standard numbers as well as his peripherals check out. He’s hitting:

.273 AVG
.369 OBP
.509 SLG
.878 OPS
3 HR
13 RBI

It looks like Gio will be keeping this pace up too. His expected stats on Baseball Savant are all superstar caliber. If anything, his actual stats don’t tell the real story of how well Urshela is doing:

.356 xBA (Top 2% in MLB)
.639 xSLG (Top 6%)
.453 xwOBA (Top 2%)

On top of this his 92.3 AVG Exit Velo and 51.2% Hard Hit% puts him in the top 10% of the league in each of these categories respectively.

These are all pretty remarkable but we know how the internet works. They will come for his head in any way possible and pick out the one thing that the numbers say he does poorly and make that about the conversation. For right now, the way they’ll do that is by saying that Urshela has -3 defensive runs saved at third. They said the same about him last year even though Statcast’s Outs Above Average contradicted Fangraphs. In 2019 while the Twitter peasants said his defense was “overrated”, he was in the top 29% in OAA in the league.

If you’re a bad person you can point out his defensive metrics on Fangraphs. If you’re a good person, you can go to Baseball Savant. Really, in all of this, the choice is yours.

Despite the noise, one thing is certain. Gio Ursehla is a damn superstar and it’s a good thing the Yankees never inked Machado to that massive deal. This is one of the better moves by the organization.

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I love to hate Clint Frazier, but he’s making it hard http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/i-love-to-hate-clint-frazier-but-hes-making-it-hard/ Thu, 13 Aug 2020 16:23:34 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81340 I’ve never been a Clint Frazier fan. It’s just something about his face that annoys me, but 2020 Clint is sure making it hard to keep my dislike for him going strong. Clint’s Journey Clint was projected to be one of the best back in the 2013 draft where he was selected fifth overall by the Cleveland Indians, 27 picks before the Yankees selected Aaron Judge. Since then, Clint has never quite lived up to the hype. After three seasons […]

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I’ve never been a Clint Frazier fan. It’s just something about his face that annoys me, but 2020 Clint is sure making it hard to keep my dislike for him going strong.

Clint’s Journey

Clint was projected to be one of the best back in the 2013 draft where he was selected fifth overall by the Cleveland Indians, 27 picks before the Yankees selected Aaron Judge. Since then, Clint has never quite lived up to the hype. After three seasons in the Indians minor league system, Clint found his way to the Yankees in a package deal for Andrew Miller.

Since joining the Yankees Clint has had an interesting ride. In July 2017, Clint made his major league debut for the Yankees, doubling in his first at bat and homering in his next. Only 8 days after his debut, he hit his first walk off home run. It seemed like things were looking up and then boom, injury.

After the 2017 season Frazier dealt with ongoing concussion symptoms that were sustained after an unpleasant interaction with the left field wall in a grapefruit league game. The concussion left Frazier out for almost the entire 2018 season.

 

2019 was another big opportunity for Clint who seemed to be fully healthy. He started the season in the minors but was quickly up with the team after injury plagued the Yankees outfield. Frazier came up and hit like a mad man, something that was never an issue, but his defense was a whole different story. Clint looked like he couldn’t play little league outfield, let alone be a starting outfielder for the New York Yankees.

It seemed as though Frazier couldn’t catch or track a ball if his life depended on it. Frazier was quickly sent back down after a mid season acquisition and stayed there.

Big Mouth

Clint Frazier’s big problem wasn’t just his defense, although it’s pretty pathetic that my eight year old nephew can track a ball better. His mouth has also been a big issue. For someone who had so many problems on the field, Clint had no real problem talking to media or posting messages on twitter. He had a back and forth with Micheal Kay, whose job is to talk about New York sports.

After a horrible game in right field, Frazier refused to talk to press at all and left his teammates to speak for him. After the incident, Clint claimed to be a “victim of the media”, but that’s just New York.

2020 is Different

Things started looking up from the start for Frazier in 2020. It started with the change in batting stance.

Then came the change in attitude:

“I think it’s pretty natural to let your mind wander to those areas. But something I’ve learned the last couple years is to stop trying to play GM. I have a role. I don’t know what that role is going to be and I guess as the season continues to unfold, we’ll figure out what all of our roles might be,” Frazier said last month. “Hopefully it’s one that gets to play a big part and a consistent role if I earn it.”

Next was the mask. Clint told media he planned to wear a mask the entire 2020 season showing some serious maturity he seemed to be lacking in pervious seasons.

It seems as though Clint Frazier took this off-season to revaluate both his playing and his personality.

First Game Back

I still wasn’t convinced Frazier was ready to be a Yankee but after Wednesday’s game against the Braves; I just might have to be little bit nicer. Frazier, in his season debut, went 3-for-4 with a monster masked home run in the second, single in the third, and doubled in the fifth. Most impressive in my opinion? He didn’t have any outfield nightmares.

I still need to see more from Clint Frazier before I’ll join the “Clint needs to start in left field club” but things are certainly looking up for Clint.

I promise to leave my disparaging tweets in the past and give Clint the chance everyone seems to think he so desperately deserves, but this is the last time. This seems like a make or break season for Clint Frazier, so here’s to hoping he makes it this time.

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Wax Bombers: Tommy John http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-history/wax-bombers-tommy-john/ Thu, 13 Aug 2020 15:59:48 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81266 Each week I look back through my baseball card collection and remember past Bombers and memorable moments. Player: Tommy John Set: 1981 Topps Card #: 550 Type: Base The most famous elbow in the history of baseball settled into his seat at Gate B-5 of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. Then, his phone rang. At that time I had a side hobby of tracking down past Yankees to interview them for a Yankees blog I started. As you might expect, the […]

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Each week I look back through my baseball card collection and remember past Bombers and memorable moments.

  • Player: Tommy John
  • Set: 1981 Topps
  • Card #: 550
  • Type: Base

The most famous elbow in the history of baseball settled into his seat at Gate B-5 of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. Then, his phone rang.

At that time I had a side hobby of tracking down past Yankees to interview them for a Yankees blog I started. As you might expect, the household names were difficult to find, but the White Pages proved surprisingly useful for finding guys like Bobby Richardson, Steve Balboni, and Cliff Johnson. Scott Brosius was a coach at Linfield College at the time so I found him through his athletic department, and I got Luis Sojo through the Tampa Yankees media department while he was managing the blossoming Bombers in single-A.

Then there was Tommy John, whose cell phone number sat in plain sight on the contact page of his website. So I gave the lefty a call and found him in fine spirits while reposing before his flight.

Over the next 45 minutes our conversation meandered past numerous signposts in his remarkable life. Fans of the classic movie Hoosiers will find it interesting that Tommy was the ball boy during Milan’s upset of Muncie Central, the 1954 Indiana State Championship game immortalized in the film. The Terra Haute, IN native was himself an exceptional high school basketball player, once ringing up Bedford High for 47 points on 21 of 28 shooting. He averaged 16 rebounds a game in his senior year, despite his undersized 6′ 3″ frame, earning him 50 basketball scholarships, including an invitation to the University of Illinois. Just one baseball scholarship came his way, but his curveball was major league-ready and Cleveland signed him soon after graduation.

Of course we discussed the surgery that now bears his name. He credited Dr. Frank Jobe with saving his career by mending his ulnar collateral ligament, allowing him to pitch 13 more years without missing a start during a time when a torn UCL was a pitcher’s death sentence. It was that surgery that gave him more wins in the second half of his career than in the first, and paved the way for some very productive years in New York.

Like many Yankees whose excellent play did not coincide with a championship, Tommy’s tours in the Bronx are not as heralded as they perhaps should be. In ’79 and ’80 he enjoyed his greatest stretch of success in a 26-year career, going 43-18 with a 3.19 ERA and a pair of 20-win seasons. In his two stints in pinstripes (1979-82 & 1986-89) he compiled six winning seasons, 91 wins, and a 3.59 ERA. His Yankee win total places him ahead of Clemens (83), Ralph Terry (78), Wells (68), and El Duque (61) and his Yankee ERA is just a shade behind Catfish (3.58) and ahead of Jimmy Key (3.68), but each of those other guys hoisted a trophy in the Bronx and in a championship-or-bust town, the rest is just a footnote.

Despite not winning a title in the Bronx, he said “I enjoyed my time in New York more than you’ll ever know.” Yankees fans gave him an icy reception in his first start when his first five pitches as a Yankee failed to find the strike zone. He laughed looking back and summed up well the reason behind the unflinchingly high standards of our fan base: “You were expected to win.”

When I asked him about his favorite memory from his 8 years in New York, he went back to 1981, when a bulbous cap adorned the front of his Topps card and his young son toed the rubber at Yankee Stadium.

That year his son Travis fell out of a 3-story window during a family vacation at the Jersey Shore. Travis plunged into a 17-day coma and a month-long hospital stay, during which Reggie Jackson was a frequent visitor. When Travis finally walked about of the hospital, The Boss invited him to throw out the first pitch of the next home game. Tommy knew he could not handle that moment nor his wife who was pregnant, so he asked Mr. October to take his son out onto the field. After Travis delivered the pitch, Tommy remembered a deafening roar and Reggie picking his little son up while the Bronx faithful chanted “TRA-VIS! TRA-VIS!” “That’s New York,” he recalled wistfully, then added with a laugh, “Those were the same people who two years earlier told me I sucked.”

We passed the time easily and likely would have spoken longer, but our conversation ended abruptly when I heard Tommy say, “B-5… ah, crap I’m at the wrong gate. I’m supposed to be at B-15. There’s no one even around in this terminal.”

And baseball’s most famous elbow continued on his way.

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Series Recap: Yankees broom the Bravos http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-recap/series-recap-yankees-broom-the-bravos/ Thu, 13 Aug 2020 04:02:50 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81303 BRONX, N.Y. — Home cooking was all the New York Yankees needed against the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers certainly found their comfort zone, extending their consecutive undefeated series streak in the Bronx to 26 straight. New York took the two-game sweep and partied like it was 1999 when they also swept the Braves in the World Series. On Guard in the Bronx. #NYYforNY pic.twitter.com/RCk9ShKUW2 — New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 12, 2020 GAME 1 It wasn’t […]

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BRONX, N.Y. — Home cooking was all the New York Yankees needed against the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers certainly found their comfort zone, extending their consecutive undefeated series streak in the Bronx to 26 straight. New York took the two-game sweep and partied like it was 1999 when they also swept the Braves in the World Series.

GAME 1

It wasn’t a game one would place in the time capsule per se but an early Yankee lead had the Braves playing catch up all night. New York was ultimately able to power its way to a 9-6.

LUKIE ROCKS TOUKI

After DJ LeMahieu singled and Aaron Hicks reached on an errant throw by Touik Toussaint, Luke Voit took advantage of another Toussaint mistake. Voit launched a three-run bomb to left, staking the Bronx Bombers to a 3-0, first-inning lead.

The Yankees capitalized on another Braves error with Voit at the dish and the bases packed in the third inning. Voit lined a laser at third baseman Austin Riley, who caught the ball but threw wide of first base in an attempt to double up Hicks. Heads up base running enabled LeMahieu to dart home from third.

Later in the frame, a two-out, two-run double to right by designated hitter Mike Ford, made it 6-0 pinstripes.

OPPO TACO TUESDAY

Pulling an audible, Aaron Judge decided to go oppo taco in the fifth frame against Bryse Wilson. All Judge had to do was throw the barrel out and drive the ball, denting the Toyota sign above the bullpen in right for a solo smash.

New York would tack on another run later in the frame on a double-play ground out by Ford.

MONTY HAUL

Jordan Montgomery provided the pinstripes with a representative outing. The first five frames were flawless from Gumby. With one out in the sixth, Montgomery had retired 10 consecutive batters. Yet, in the sixth, consecutive one-out singles by Travis d’Arnaud and Freddie Freeman brought Marcel Ozuna to the dish. Ozuna proceeded to swat a three-run bomb to left to cut the New York lead in half.

CONFUSION SETS IN

During the home half of the sixth, manager Aaron Boone pulled Judge for Mike Tauchman. Nothing was wrong with Judge. Maybe Boone got concerned that Judge went oppo taco on his home run? Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket! After everything was “fine” during the postgame, Boone changed his tune Wednesday afternoon, saying Judge exhibited some lower body tightness.

Moving to the seventh inning, despite having Monday off, Boone decided to play, “let’s steal an out!” with the underbelly of the bullpen, once again. David Hale replaced Montgomery and yielded consecutive singles to Riley and Tyler Flowers before fanning Ender Inciarte and exiting for Adam Ottavino. Dansby Swanson reached on a fielder’s choice and error by LeMahieu after a miscommunication between him and Gleyber Torres resulted in no one covering second base. This followed a third-inning play when Gio Urshela fielded a ball hit by Inciarte and no one covered the bag at second. A little chatter, fellas!

New York would get that run back on an RBI-double to right by Ford off Luke Jackson in the bottom of the seventh.

Yet, things got sloppy once again in the eighth inning. With Luis Cessa on, Torres booted a ball hit by Adam Duvall. A Johan Camargo double plated Duvall. After Riley flew out to right, Flowers switched places with Camargo, doubling to left to end Cessa’s evening. Chad Green came on to put out the fire with a strikeout and a nice stretch by Voit on a throw from Torres to retire the side.

Zack Britton sealed the deal with a no-frills ninth inning.

GAME 2

The second game was all about the triumphant return of Clint Frazier. Frazier finished a triple shy of the cycle and displayed his bat speed all evening. That and some great base running and timely hitting added up to a 12-6 victory.

MASA MEH

I can’t even say he pitches up to or down to the competition, so, maybe more so to the moment, if that makes sense. It wasn’t postseason Masahiro Tanaka on the bump. Not awful but not the sharpest outing. Tanaka lasted four frames, yielded a two-run homer to left by Camargo in the second stanza. The veteran righty scattered five hits, walked two and fanned three as well.

77 SUNSET STRIP

Yet, it didn’t take long for the Bronx Bombers to respond with a bang against Huascar Ynoa in the home half. Gary Sanchez got the ball rolling with a soaring solo smash to left.

The ensuing batter Frazier followed suit with a blast to left, doubling the Yankee advantage to 2-0.

El Rojo was en Fuego.

OFFENSE KEEPS IT ROLLING

The lineup kept it up against the Braves bullpen in the fourth frame. LeMahieu continued to do what he does, leading off with a single to right against Tyler Matzek. With one down, Aaron Hicks, who made a sweet grab against the wall in the first inning, doubled home LeMahieu, who got a terrific read on the ball. Then with two down, Gleyber Torres plated Hicks with a single to right off Josh Tomlin.

The pinstripes piled on some more in the fifth frame. With one out, Frazier scalded a double to left for his third hit of the evening. LeMahieu, who had a four-hit night, plated Frazier with a two-out knock to right. After LeMahieu stole second base, Voit singled to center, plating LeMahieu and moving up to second on the Inciarte error in center, great heads up base running by both on the play to cap off the scoring.

BULLPEN WRAPS IT UP

Once again Boone employed the art of stealing outs, alternating between the top flight and underbelly of the bullpen. On this night it all worked out with the Braves only adding one more run in the ninth, before Britton was summoned to record the final two outs.

ON DECK

At 12-6, the Yankees host the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium for a four-game series starting Friday evening.

Pitching probables: TBA.

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Aaron Judge dealing with “lower body tightness” http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-injuries/aaron-judge-dealing-with-lower-body-tightness/ Wed, 12 Aug 2020 20:45:17 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81324 During Tuesday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves, Aaron Judge was removed from the game in the sixth inning. The New York Yankees had a big lead at the time, but it was still a question as to why manager Aaron Boone elected to remove the 28-year-old from the game. When asked after the game, Boone said that the Yankees were looking for ways to give Judge rest. It didn’t make much sense at the time, especially given that the […]

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During Tuesday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves, Aaron Judge was removed from the game in the sixth inning. The New York Yankees had a big lead at the time, but it was still a question as to why manager Aaron Boone elected to remove the 28-year-old from the game.

When asked after the game, Boone said that the Yankees were looking for ways to give Judge rest. It didn’t make much sense at the time, especially given that the Yankees had an off-day on Monday and have another day off scheduled for Thursday.

Now, the decision to remove Judge appears to make a little more sense.

Prior to Wednesday’s series finale against the Braves, Boone spoke to reporters about the status of his star player.

Boone told reporters that Judge is currently dealing with “lower body tightness.” When asked to specify what was bothering the 28-year-old, Boone said that it’s a mix of “hips, hamstrings and calves.” Boone mentioned that Judge wanted to play on Wednesday, but the Yankees manager elected to keep him out of the lineup.

When asked if he expects Judge to play in Friday’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox, Boone was unsure. He told reporters that he is hopeful, but also that Friday is a “long way from now.”

This is rather frustrating, especially given how well Judge has played so far this season. The right-fielder is definitely in the early season MVP race, as he’s posted a slash line of .290/.343/.758 over 17 games played. His nine home runs leads the big leagues, and his 20 runs batted in are tied for the league’s best.

The Bronx Bombers recently lost Giancarlo Stanton for an extended period of time due to injury, so it’s not a surprise to see them being extra cautious with Judge. Although it appears to be a minor setback for Judge, it is definitely worth keeping an eye on over the next few days.

To replace Judge in the lineup on Wednesday, Clint Frazier will get his first start of the season for the Bronx Bombers.

Continue to follow the Bronx Pinstripes team for all the latest news and updates regarding Aaron Judge’s injury status.

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The Yankees’ scariest potential first round opponent http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/the-yankees-scariest-potential-first-round-opponent/ Wed, 12 Aug 2020 14:24:59 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81304 Expanding the playoffs was one of the many changes Major League Baseball made ahead of the 2020 season. Instead of five playoff teams per league, this year there will be eight. With more playoff teams, comes more playoff games. The first round will feature a best-of-three series with all three games taking place at the higher seed’s home field (that is, if they don’t go to a playoff bubble.) Yo @MLB just put me on payroll already pic.twitter.com/HxF3K72pqQ — Stanzo […]

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Expanding the playoffs was one of the many changes Major League Baseball made ahead of the 2020 season. Instead of five playoff teams per league, this year there will be eight. With more playoff teams, comes more playoff games. The first round will feature a best-of-three series with all three games taking place at the higher seed’s home field (that is, if they don’t go to a playoff bubble.)

A best-of-three series obviously means that any team’s season can end after just two playoff games, no matter how good they were in the regular season. Part of me thinks Yankee fans shouldn’t be scared of that. The Yankees are the best team in the American League. They should be able to take two-out-of-three from any team they face. However, there’s one team that really scares me in a three-game series: the Cleveland Indians.

On the surface, the Indians might not look like a threat. Their lineup is below average, currently ranked 23rd in runs scored and dead last in batting average. Despite the lack of offensive production, they’re still 10-8 because of their starting pitching. And that’s exactly what scares me.

Shane Bieber

Simply put, Bieber has been the best pitcher in baseball so far this season. In four starts, he’s 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA, 43 strikeouts, and a 0.76 WHIP. He’s likely Gerrit Cole’s main competition for the AL Cy Young award, and it’s not hard to see why. Bieber is absolutely filthy.

The Yankees actually knocked Bieber around in Cleveland last year, tagging him for five runs. Bieber is on another level in 2020 though. If the Yanks end up matching up with the Tribe in October, Bieber will be waiting for them Game 1.

Mike Clevinger

Clevinger just got caught violating Covid protocol, so he isn’t currently with the team. While he might not be the best decision maker, he’s a damn good pitcher. Although he isn’t off to as hot of a start as Bieber, Clevinger still boasts a 3.24 ERA this year. He struck out 169 batters in just 21 starts in 2019. Clevinger has also been dominant against the Yanks, striking out ten Bombers in two out of his three matchups with them in 2018 & 2019.

Any team facing Bieber & Clevinger in a best-of-three could easily see their season end. If there is a Game 3, the Indians have plenty of options there too. Zach Plesac, who also got caught violating protocol, has surrendered just three earned runs this season. Carlos Carrasco, the veteran of the staff, is off to a fast start as well with a 2.50 ERA through three starts. And Aaron Civale may be the best #5 starter in baseball. Not to mention, any of those guys who aren’t starting Game 3 will be available out of the bullpen all series.

There’s a lot of baseball to be played before the playoffs, and we can basically guarantee the Yankees have a spot in October. However, it’s in their best interest to get as high of a seed as possible. A three-game set is dangerous no matter who you play. Throw in some of the best starting pitchers in baseball, and the Yankees would immediately face a major roadblock on the road to #28.

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Trade options for the rotation http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/trade-options-for-the-rotation/ Tue, 11 Aug 2020 15:57:43 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81111 The first quarter of the 60 game sprint is in the books. The Yankees are 10-6 after the first 16 games, good for a .625 winning percentage. All things considered, we should be happy with that but there are some concerns both now and on the horizon. The offense has carried this team to their 1st place record thus far. They are in the top five for homeruns, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging and their overall numbers looked a […]

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The first quarter of the 60 game sprint is in the books. The Yankees are 10-6 after the first 16 games, good for a .625 winning percentage. All things considered, we should be happy with that but there are some concerns both now and on the horizon.

The offense has carried this team to their 1st place record thus far. They are in the top five for homeruns, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging and their overall numbers looked a lot better before some of the recent stinkers where the offense failed to show up. The problem moving forward will be starting pitching (and to some extent the bullpen) and the Yankees need to shore that line of defense up if they want to be in the best position to advance in the postseason. The trade deadline is less than three weeks away and there are some intriguing options out there on the market for the Yankees.

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer has become a voice for displeasure in baseball that some people either love or hate. One thing fans can’t hate on is the on field production. Since 2018, Bauer has a 3.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 11.2 K/9 over 407.2 innings and in three starts so far in 2020 he is shoving with a .93 ERA, .57 WHIP, and 14.9 K/9. In 2019, Bauer had a bit of a red flag pop up after posting a slightly elevated BB/9 compared to 2018 (2.93 in ’18 and 3.46 in ’19). Add that to him doubling his HR/FB rate in 2019 and that how you get more than two runs added to his ERA last year.

That HR/FB is still there this year albeit in a much smaller sample size. The reason it hasn’t hurt him like it did last year is because he’s only walked four batters in three starts. Bauer is a free agent after this season and the Reds are probably not going to compete this year or sign him to a long-term deal. If he continues on his 2020 pace, it might be worth acquiring him for the postseason.

Robbie Ray

The stat line on Robbie Ray has always been the same. High strikeouts (12.1 K/9 since ’18), high walk rate (4.8 BB/9 since ’18), and homeruns (19.4% HR/FB since ’18). The Diamondbacks are probably not going to view Ray as a long-term piece so moving him at the deadline makes sense.

First year pitching coach Matt Blake is already known for identifying characteristics in a pitcher’s delivery that need improvement. If Blake can work with Ray and iron out an issue in his delivery, maybe that high walk-rate can come down a bit. Going from Chase Field to Yankee Stadium won’t do any favors for his HR/FB rate but cutting down on the free passes will make those home runs less painful. Getting a high strikeout pitcher for a below market price should be a focus of Brian Cashman and Robbie Ray is that type of pitcher for sure.

Mike Minor

Mike Minor would be an interesting grab for the Yankees because he comes with some flexibility. Over the last several seasons he has moved between the bullpen and the rotation (although he has mostly been a starter since 2018). That flexibility is even more valuable in a season like this. Flexibility is nice but is Minor even a good pitcher? I believe he is at the very least above average.

Since 2018, he has put up a 3.97 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP. That is pretty good even if he has an elevated HR/FB rate (12.4%) to go with those numbers. His BABIP (.275) and strand rate (75.6%) are nothing special but that is basically who Mike Minor is as a starter. He is above average slightly but not so much that he jumps off the page at you. He doesn’t even strikeout a batter per inning or have a high groundball rate.

Now, if he were moved to the bullpen, those numbers could improve but if he were to be acquired, the focus should be using him in the rotation.

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What improved for James Paxton? http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-stats/what-improved-for-james-paxton/ Tue, 11 Aug 2020 14:02:44 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81283 It’s no secret James Paxton has struggled to open 2020. Through 3 starts he’s only thrown 10.1 innings and pitched to a 7.84 ERA. Worse, after pre-season back surgery, everything is down. His fastball velocity is down over 3mph from 95.4 mph to 92.1 mph. And to make it worse, his fastball spin rate is down over 60rpm to just over 2,000 rpm. However, on Sunday in the godforsaken Trop, there were signs of hope. In 6.1 innings, Paxton gave […]

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It’s no secret James Paxton has struggled to open 2020. Through 3 starts he’s only thrown 10.1 innings and pitched to a 7.84 ERA. Worse, after pre-season back surgery, everything is down. His fastball velocity is down over 3mph from 95.4 mph to 92.1 mph. And to make it worse, his fastball spin rate is down over 60rpm to just over 2,000 rpm.

However, on Sunday in the godforsaken Trop, there were signs of hope. In 6.1 innings, Paxton gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, and had 11 K. And those numbers are actually worse than how he pitched because he gave up 2 home runs and a double after being brought out for the 7th. Let’s take a look at how he did it Sunday and if there are signs he’s turning a corner.

Pitch Velocity

Velocity has been the name of the game with Paxton this year. His velocity was up slightly against the Rays, averaging 92.3 mph and reaching a max of 94 mph. More importantly, he sustained it deep into the game. His last two fastballs of the game were each 93 mph, which suggests there is hope for the future or at the very least he can maintain that average.

Spin Rate

Although the velocity numbers are encouraging, the real improvement is in the spin rate. This chart shows Paxton’s spin rates for each of his pitches by start this year.

Look at the jump in his fastball spin rate yesterday. That is basically what he averaged last season which tells us the ball is coming out better. Throughout the game, batters were swinging through Paxton’s fastball, and the higher spin rate tells us why.

Even more interestingly is the spin rate on Paxton’s changeup and curve compared to previous years. He’s added more than 100 rpm in spin to each of them. For the curve, that gives it a sharper break and for the changeup that gives it less vertical movement (more on this later).

Command

Improved stuff is nice, but locating it is even more important. Here is Paxton’s pitch map from Sunday:

You can see the fastballs almost all up in the zone or above, the cutters low and away to lefties or low and in to righties, and the curveballs all around the zone. Look at how many of those pitches are located near the edge of the strike zone. Statcast has a stat called Edge% which measures what percent of pitches are located near the edge of the zone, which is usually where you want them.

Compared to his previous two starts, that was the biggest change for Paxton yesterday. Take a look:

Everything was improved compared to his last outing. Better stuff + better location = much better result.

A New Changeup?

So this is worth a longer post at some point, but I noticed Paxton’s changeup for the first time. It’s his clear fourth pitch, and last year he never used it more than 5% of the time. Sunday, however, he threw 9 of them, marking the first time in his career that he threw it more than 10% of the time in a game.

The main reason I noticed the changeup is because it was the first time I saw Paxton throw a pitch that noticeably moved from right to left. And in looking at the data, lo and behold, Paxton’s changeup had the most horizontal movement of any start in his career.

The blue line shows the changeup horizontal movement, and you can see how it was higher yesterday than ever before. Additionally, the vertical movement on the changeup is less than before:

Remember how we said the spin rate on the changeup was up to new highs? That is the result. Paxton’s other two off-speed pitches – the curve and cutter – both move in on righties. This changeup moves away from them giving them something else to think about. If Paxton can continue to develop this changeup he may be A-OK even with reduced velocity.

You can contact Rohan on Twitter @rohanarcot20

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On this date in Yankees history: Billy Martin Day! http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-history/on-this-date-in-yankees-history-billy-martin-day/ Tue, 11 Aug 2020 01:29:30 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81276 BRONX, N.Y. — On this date in 1986, the New York Yankees celebrated “Billy Martin Day” at Yankee Stadium. The longtime Bronx Bombers player and manager (five times over) had his No. 1 retired in Monument Park. The organization also dedicated a plaque to Martin, which reads: Alfred Manuel “Billy” Martin, Casey’s Boy. A Yankee forever. A man who only knew one way to play — to win as a player for Casey Stengel he thrived on pressure, delivering the […]

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BRONX, N.Y. — On this date in 1986, the New York Yankees celebrated “Billy Martin Day” at Yankee Stadium. The longtime Bronx Bombers player and manager (five times over) had his No. 1 retired in Monument Park.

George Steinbrenner Kept Billy Martin Hidden from Everyone After He Fired  Him | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

The organization also dedicated a plaque to Martin, which reads: Alfred Manuel “Billy” Martin, Casey’s Boy. A Yankee forever. A man who only knew one way to play — to win as a player for Casey Stengel he thrived on pressure, delivering the key play or hit. MVP of the 1953 World Series, setting record for most hits in a six-game series with 12. Later as a manager, he became one of the great Yankee managers.

MLB Twitter: What A Few Of The Yankee Greats Are Saying About Derek Jeter  Now? | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Martin earned four World Series rings as a Yankee player, batting .333 in 28 World Series contests. Martin also managed the 1977 club all the way to a title.

Upon being honored, Martin said, “I may not have been the greatest Yankee to put on the uniform, but I am the proudest.”

If you haven’t listened yet, our own Andrew Rotondi put together a great Yankee history podcast on Martin back in July, so you should certainly check that if you have yet to do so.

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On this date in Yankees history: Jose Canseco crushes http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-history/on-this-date-in-yankees-history-jose-canseco-crushes/ Mon, 10 Aug 2020 21:06:58 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81269 BRONX, N.Y. — Looking back on this 20th anniversary of the 2000 World Series champion New York Yankees, that team sure added a lot of different pieces to get across the finish line. The player additions were a lot more than 1998 and 1999 squads. These guys were all made their contributions but their time was mostly short-lived in the Bronx. David Justice, Glenallen Hill, Jose Vizcaino, Denny Neagle, Luis Polonia, Luis Sojo returned and of course, Jose Canseco. On […]

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BRONX, N.Y. — Looking back on this 20th anniversary of the 2000 World Series champion New York Yankees, that team sure added a lot of different pieces to get across the finish line. The player additions were a lot more than 1998 and 1999 squads. These guys were all made their contributions but their time was mostly short-lived in the Bronx. David Justice, Glenallen Hill, Jose Vizcaino, Denny Neagle, Luis Polonia, Luis Sojo returned and of course, Jose Canseco.

On Aug. 7, 2000, the Yankees claimed the 35-year-old slugger off waivers from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The move caught many, including Yankee manager Joe Torre, off guard. Yet, general manager Brian Cashman made the move to block other clubs from obtaining him.

After homering nine times in 61 games with the Devil Rays, the 1988 AL MVP and bash brother, smashed six homers in 37 contests with New York. It’s still a little surreal that he played with the Yankees. The uniform doesn’t quite fit and I’m pretty sure he didn’t own a hat or glove during his days in the Bronx. He did, however, earn a ring with one at-bat in the World Series (a strikeout).

As you’ll see in the clips below, Canseco made the most of his blasts in pinstripes:

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Report: Clint Frazier to be called up today http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/report-clint-frazier-to-be-called-up-today/ Mon, 10 Aug 2020 16:01:41 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81250 When Giancarlo Stanton went down on Saturday night with a left hamstring strain, there was immediate speculation on who would replace him. It seems that we have our answer. According to Any Martino of SNY, Clint Frazier is expected to get the call today. Martino later clarified that the announcement could come tomorrow. Indications are Yankees will call up Clint Frazier today. Not official at this point. — Andy Martino (@martinonyc) August 10, 2020 This is obviously the move that […]

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When Giancarlo Stanton went down on Saturday night with a left hamstring strain, there was immediate speculation on who would replace him.

It seems that we have our answer.

According to Any Martino of SNY, Clint Frazier is expected to get the call today. Martino later clarified that the announcement could come tomorrow.

This is obviously the move that makes the most sense. Frazier is similar to Stanton in that he is a bat first outfielder who fits best in the DH spot. If there was ever a time to call up Frazier, it’s now.

Across 69 games in in 2019, Frazier slashed .267/.317/.489. He makes a lot of contact and could be a real help to some of the Yankees RISP woes. Many of the Yankee hitters have had trouble moving runners along and getting them home. Frazier is constantly putting the ball in play, so there’s reason to believe he could be a serious help. He doesn’t walk a ton, but the Yankees have enough guys that walk.

Frazier is terrible in the field. With Tauchman, Judge, Hicks and Gardner, Frazier shouldn’t have to see the field too much; maybe in the second leg of a double header or some sort of emergency. Other than that, expect him to see most of his time at DH.

Frazier has been a Yankee for over four years, and this could be a make or break opportunity for him to show that he can be an impact DH at the major league level. In addition to the Yankee brass, opposing GM’s will surely be watching.

All eyes on Clint.

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Series Recap: Yankees have terrible time at Trop http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-recap/series-recap-yankees-have-terrible-time-at-trop/ Sun, 09 Aug 2020 21:01:17 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81233 ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The New York Yankees series against the Tampa Bay Rays was all about terrible timing. One hit. One sac fly. One pitch. The margin of error was razor-thin but enough for the Yankees to drop three of four contests to the Rays at Tropicana Field. GAME 1 There wasn’t much to write home about from this one. The two teams recorded two hits apiece and the Yankees fell 1-0 on a Michael Perez sac fly in […]

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The New York Yankees series against the Tampa Bay Rays was all about terrible timing. One hit. One sac fly. One pitch. The margin of error was razor-thin but enough for the Yankees to drop three of four contests to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

GAME 1

There wasn’t much to write home about from this one. The two teams recorded two hits apiece and the Yankees fell 1-0 on a Michael Perez sac fly in the eighth.

MASA MAGIC

Masahiro Tanaka, along with Luis Cessa, made major strides in becoming vital parts of the Yankee pitching staff in 2020. Had this not been his second start, Tanaka probably would’ve gone deeper into the game. Tanaka tossed an economical 59 pitches in five scoreless frames, fanning five, allowing one hit and zero walks.

For his part, Cessa tossed a pair of scoreless frames with two K’s, one hit and zero walks.

HOW ABOUT A FLY BALL?

The New York offense didn’t record a hit until a one-out single by DJ LeMahieu in the sixth inning. The lineup couldn’t push home a run with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. They also couldn’t plate a runner from third with one out in the eighth inning.

OH, THAT’S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

Conversely, in the bottom half of the eighth, the Rays plated the lone run without the benefit of a hit off Adam Ottavino.

Following two walks sandwiched around a strikeout, Ottavino uncorked a wild pitch, enabling both runners to advance a base. Perez lifted a sac fly RBI to center and that was all Tampa needed.

GAME 2

Maybe it’s something about the Trop that bores players into a false sense of security. The Yankees were pretty much in cruise control but almost made it more difficult than it had to be, doubling up the Rays 8-4.

THERE’S THE BATS!

In the third inning, the Yankee bats got around on Tyler Glasnow. Aaron Judge reached on a one-out single to left. The ensuing batter, Mike Ford, not good enough to play regularly but good enough to bat third when he does apparently, crushed a two-run tater atop the vacant Rays tank in right for a 2-0 lead.

Gio Urshela doubled the lead with a two-run double to center, later in the frame, that would end Glasnow’s afternoon.

A Giancarlo Stanton solo swat to left made it 5-0 in the fifth off Sean Gilmartin.

TRAIN SMOKES BUT NEEDS MORE STEAM

Gerrit Cole was buzzing through the Rays’ bats with great aplomb. In total, the ace right recorded 10 K’s. Yet, with all of those K’s comes a heightened pitch count. This won’t be a popular take but you need more than 4.2 frames out of your ace and Cole’s going to need to find a way to be more economical than tossing 107 pitches without making it through an official game.

That said, despite the three runs in the fifth when he ran out of gas, it worked for a seven-inning game.

POWER IT BACK UP

The Bronx Bombers got some of those runs back late though. Following a LeMahieu leadoff single in the sixth inning, Aaron Judge launched a two-run tater to left.

A sac fly by Urshela would cap off the scoring in the seventh.

GAME 3

The Yankees found out real fast what happens when you cobble together a Triple-A bullpen game. Nine walks and five runs later it was a 5-3 loss for New York. What exactly does Matt Blake do here?

LABOR PAINS

Michael King was all over the place in the first frame and needed more than 30 pitches to make it through. He did walk in a run but somehow that was the only damage.

The Yankees did manage to tie it on a Luke Voit RBI-single to center off Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks.

King did gain some composure until that bottom of the fourth. After recording a pair of quick outs, King issued a pair of walks to Willy Adames and Kevin Kiermaier and that was the end of his afternoon.

Luis Avilan would enter and issue a walk to Yandy Diaz. That was followed by an Austin Meadows two-run single that found green in left.

Albert Abreu also made his MLB debut in this one and yielded a mixed ledger with 1.1 frames, three hits, two runs, two walks, and two strikeouts.

G-LASS PANE

In the fourth frame, Stanton moved up to second base on a wild pitch and injured his hamstring, landing him on the IL after the game. It’s unbelievable but at the same time perfectly believable. The Yankees were protecting this guy as much as possible, using him solely as a DH and he does this. It’s not like this happened in 40-degree weather either. It’s freaking August!

At least the team has options, be it Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, or rotating the DH but that $300 million they’re paying Stanton certainly could’ve been used on more starting pitching in retrospect.

WEAK SAUCE

The umpires were not good but and I get that Aaron Boone and Marcus Thames were protecting their guys and probably trying to wake up the team but the umps aren’t going to stop guys from throwing high and tight. If you don’t like it, tell your pitchers to knock down some of the opposing hitters.

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE

This had the feeling of their last game in Philadelphia. With two outs in the seventh, Urshela kept the game alive with a single to center off Jalen Beeks. Erik Kratz followed with a double to right. LeMahieu, the ensuing batter, lined a two-run single to right.

With Nick Anderson in the contest, Judge gave one a ride to deep center but to no avail for the final out.

GAME 4

The Yankees appeared to be coasting until the worst lead in hockey turned into the worst lead in baseball. New York squandered a 3-0 advantage and fell 4-3.

ERRANT SCORING

Even with an early exit from Charlie Morton, the Yankee bats couldn’t do much. For a while, it looked like they didn’t need to. Ford was hit by a pitch with the bases juiced in the first inning. During the fifth frame, a three-base error with two outs on a drop in center by Manuel Margot, enabled two runs to score on a ball hit by Urshela. Otherwise, the Yankees went 0-for-8 with RISP.

PAX TO PAX JACKS

James Paxton was good until he wasn’t. The Yankee southpaw produced his best outing thus far. He posted 11 K’s while yielding only one hit through six scoreless frames.

Yet, the seventh inning was a different story. With one on and one out, Paxton allowed a two-run homer to left to Mike Brosseau. It was a little surprising that Boone didn’t lift Paxton after that, especially with Jonathan Holder warming up. Instead, the ensuing batter, Brandon Lowe, smoked a solo bomb to right to tie the contest at three.

Bullpen management was odd the whole afternoon, especially given the off-day on Monday.

SO MUCH FOR THAT

Even with Britton on in the ninth, the Yankees couldn’t hold off the pesky Rays. Perez bookended the weekend with another winner, this time a walk-off single to right.

ON DECK

At 10-6, the Yankees return home to Yankee Stadium to host the Atlanta Braves for a two-game series starting Tuesday evening.

Pitching probables, Touki Toussaint vs. Jordan Montgomery, TBD vs. Masahiro Tanaka.

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Yankees place Kyle Higashioka on Injured List http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-injuries/yankees-place-kyle-higashioka-on-injured-list/ Sat, 08 Aug 2020 16:07:54 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81227 Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, the New York Yankees made a handful of roster moves. The Bronx Bombers announced that they have placed Kyle Higashioka on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to August 6. The 30-year-old backup catcher was diagnosed with a right oblique strain. Prior to today’s games, the @Yankees made the following roster moves: pic.twitter.com/h4SmV2dP84 — Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) August 8, 2020 To replace Higashioka on the active roster, the Yankees signed veteran Erik Kratz to a Major […]

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Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, the New York Yankees made a handful of roster moves.

The Bronx Bombers announced that they have placed Kyle Higashioka on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to August 6. The 30-year-old backup catcher was diagnosed with a right oblique strain.

To replace Higashioka on the active roster, the Yankees signed veteran Erik Kratz to a Major League contract.

In his first full season as the team’s backup catcher, Higashioka has appeared in three games. Although he’s picked up just two hits through his first 9 plate appearances, the 30-year-old provides steady defense behind the plate on days where Gary Sanchez needs a rest.

With the injury to Higashioka and the rumored possible retirement of Chris Iannetta (who was placed on the restricted list), the Yankees were in need of a backup catcher on their active roster.

Insert Kratz, who has a a ton of Major League experience under his belt. Through 10 big league seasons, the 40-year-old has spent time with eight different organizations. Over 315 career games, the veteran backup has posted a slash line of .205/.252/.354.

Along with the aforementioned roster moves,  the Bronx Bombers also re-called Thairo Estrada from their Alternate Site. To make room for Estrada on the roster, the Yankees designated Nick Tropeano for assignment. If you recall, Estrada was with the Yankees to start the season, but was recently optioned to the Alternate Site as the team had to trim the roster to 28 players.

As rosters expand to 29 players for doubleheaders, the Yankees have appointed right-hander Albert Abreu to the roster. The 24-year-old has yet to make his big league debut, but that can change during Saturday’s doubleheader.

Continue to follow the Bronx Pinstripes team for all the latest news and updates surrounding the New York Yankees.

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Series Recap: It’s not what you want http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/series-recap-its-not-what-you-want/ Fri, 07 Aug 2020 04:36:42 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81215 PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — It was an all-around bizarre series. The New York Yankees probably could’ve played at home on Tuesday but instead played the home half of two seven-inning doubleheaders on the road Wednesday. Their pitching was brutal, as their starters not named Gerrit Cole, have posted a 7.22 ERA this season and New York dropped two of three to the Philadelphia Phillies as a result. Embed from Getty Images GAME 1 Had they played the full nine, perhaps the […]

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — It was an all-around bizarre series. The New York Yankees probably could’ve played at home on Tuesday but instead played the home half of two seven-inning doubleheaders on the road Wednesday. Their pitching was brutal, as their starters not named Gerrit Cole, have posted a 7.22 ERA this season and New York dropped two of three to the Philadelphia Phillies as a result.

Embed from Getty Images

GAME 1

Had they played the full nine, perhaps the Yankees would’ve overcome an atrocious Phillies bullpen but a feckless J.A. Happ and lollygagging on the basepaths and on the field yielded an 11-7 defeat.

EARLY EDGE

No lead is truly safe in Philly’s ballpark but the Yankees were staked to a 3-0 advantage. DJ LeMahieu, who had a 3-for-3 contest, scored on a double-play ball in the first inning. Brett Gardner homered to right off Zack Wheeler in the second stanza with a two-run tater.

HAPP AND THE SUNK COST FALLACY

Unfortunately, Happ was non-competitive. Happ issued six walks and four runs in three innings. It’s time for the Yankees to stop playing the sunk cost fallacy with Happ and start someone, anyone else. They have options.

THROW THE DAMN TOWEL!

I had to get a Rocky movie reference in there. After a solid frame from Jonathan Holder, Nick Nelson was brutal.

Nelson yielded six runs on seven hits in 1.2 frames. After the game, he remained in Pennsylvania. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

LOLLYGAGERS!

I had to get a Bull Durham movie reference in there. LeMahieu threw to an unoccupied base. Kyle Higashioka was doubled up on a humpback liner to short by Gardner, along with dropping a throw to the plate. Plus, the infield probably could’ve turned a couple of twin killings in the sixth inning but didn’t. Sloppy.

ACTUALLY, CAN WE PLAY NINE PLEASE?

Unfortunately, the Yankees ran out of time. In the seventh inning, Thairo Estrada, who is a better player than Tyler Wade, singled home a run. Then with two on, Aaron Judge pelted a three-run homer to left.

Yet, Mike Ford was called out on a nonsense inside third strike call by Angel Hernandez, which got Phil Nevin run. Miguel Andujar, who’s also a better player than Wade, flew out to end the game.

GAME 2

The nightcap was a lot crisper. In a 3-1 victory, the bullpen mix of Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Avilan, Chad Green, Adam Ottavino, and Zack Britton combined to allow one run on three hits, one walk, fanning seven. That the backend of the bullpen has been a lifesaver is a huge understatement.

VOIT VAULT

Aaron Nola racked up 12 K’s but he couldn’t sit down Luke Voit during the second stanza. Voit cranked a solo shot to left to stake the Bombers to a 1-0 edge.

TAUCH AND BACK IT UP

Facing Tommy Hunter in the seventh inning, Mike Tauchman came through with RISP once again. Following consecutive singles by Giancarlo Stanton and Voit, Tauchman lined an RBI-double to right. After Gary Sanchez was hit by a pitch, Gio Urshela added insurance with an RBI-single to right.

GAME 3

It didn’t feel as close as the 5-4 score would indicate. A reliable Jordan Montgomery was pummeled early. Apparently two hours was good enough rest time for Judge and LeMahieu before both eventually pinch-hit late.

MONTGOMERY FLEA MARKET

Montgomery allowed five runs on six hits in four frames. The big blows were a three-run homer yielded to J.T. Realmuto in the first frame and a two-run double to Phil Gosselin in the third inning. He’s allowed to throw a stinker but it’s that much more magnified given how good he’s looked compared to the rest of the staff.

TAUCH IT UP

New York did manage to get a pair of runs back in the second stanza. Tauchman lined a two-run single to center off Zach Eflin. I know it’s an incredibly small sample size but how do we get this guy some more regular ab’s?

WELCOME TO 2020 EL GARY

Watching Realmuto tear it up on the other side, El Kraken decided to respond in the seventh inning. Sanchez belted his first home run of the campaign, a two-run tater to right, off Nick Pivetta, pulling the Bombers within one run.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

Facing Hector Neris in the ninth inning, the Yankees cobbled together a pair of two-out singles by LeMahieu and Tauchman to keep the game alive. Voit would send a drive to the track in center but not quite enough for the final out of the contest.

ON DECK

At 9-3, the Yankees travel to St. Petersburg, Fla. and play the Tampa Bay Rays for a four-game series starting Friday night.

Pitching probables, Masahiro Tanaka vs. Blake Snell, Gerrit Cole vs. TBD, TBD vs. TBD, James Paxton vs. Charlie Morton.

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Ozzie Guillen still hates Nick Swisher http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/ozzie-guillen-still-hates-nick-swisher/ Thu, 06 Aug 2020 17:33:03 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81183 Well, it is safe to say that Nick Swisher is still not popular with the Chicago White Sox. Former White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen, randomly blurted out that he, “hates Nick Swisher with all his heart,” while providing postgame analysis. Yeah so @OzzieGuillen really didn't hold back when discussing Nick Swisher pic.twitter.com/KJyvwJTWOM — White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) August 6, 2020 During Swisher’s playing career, he played for Guillen during the 2008 season in Chicago. The White Sox saw Swisher as […]

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Well, it is safe to say that Nick Swisher is still not popular with the Chicago White Sox. Former White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen, randomly blurted out that he, “hates Nick Swisher with all his heart,” while providing postgame analysis.

During Swisher’s playing career, he played for Guillen during the 2008 season in Chicago. The White Sox saw Swisher as a middle of the lineup bat that would add some energy into the lineup. They dealt a trio of prospects, including Gio Gonzalez, for the slugging outfielder. Unfortunately, Swisher struggled in Chicago as his batting average plummeted to .219. Despite swatting 24 homers, Swisher found himself on the bench late in the season. After the year, the White Sox would send him to the Bronx where he quickly became a fan favorite.

Embed from Getty Images

What makes the interview so odd is that Guillen mentions he never really talked to Swisher. Instead, he saw his personality as “all fake” and that Swisher stayed in Chicago for “one year too long.” While Swisher has a large personality, he was universally loved as a Yankee. Furthermore, what kind of manager doesn’t talk to one of his players? Especially if that player is struggling.

Today, Swisher is still a frequent face around the New York Yankees while Guillen hasn’t managed since he was fired by the Miami Marlins after a controversial interview about Fidel Castro. Maybe if Guillen talked to his players instead of the media he would have lasted more than one season.

Editor’s note: The White Sox have not reached the postseason since trading Swisher in 2008.

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No, you shouldn’t be worried about Cole. But… http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-stats/no-you-shouldnt-be-worried-about-cole-but/ Thu, 06 Aug 2020 14:53:29 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81164 In his first three starts as a Yankee, Gerrit Cole is 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. Yet if you peruse Twitter, while the love for him is still there (we’re still in the honeymoon phase), many are quick to point out that he hasn’t been that sharp. Those people would be correct.  The fact that Cole’s basic numbers are still very good shows just how good he is. Even on a “meh” night for him, he still […]

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In his first three starts as a Yankee, Gerrit Cole is 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. Yet if you peruse Twitter, while the love for him is still there (we’re still in the honeymoon phase), many are quick to point out that he hasn’t been that sharp. Those people would be correct. 

The fact that Cole’s basic numbers are still very good shows just how good he is. Even on a “meh” night for him, he still goes out and pitches six innings of one-run ball while throwing less than 100 pitches. But Cole hasn’t dominated a game yet. He’s certainly dominated stretches of some games, but he hasn’t pitched a full game masterpiece yet. 

I know it’s only been three games, so it is a very small sample size. But let’s see how Cole’s underlying numbers have been compared to his last two seasons. 

Statcast stats

Season

K % BB % XBA XSLG XWOBA Hard Hit % Barrel %
2018 34.5

8.0

.201

.343

.277

39.8

6.2

2019 39.9

5.9

.185

.321

.244

35.5

5.9

2020 23.9 6.0 .195 .435 .292 43.5

8.7

The thing that pops out first is the diminished strikeout rate. It is down 16 percent from last year. Opponents’ expected slugging percentage is way up as well. The same goes for opponents’ hard hit and barrel rates. But all the others are not too far off. 

One thing that has been mentioned is how Cole has yet to harness his fastball command. And we all know how good his fastball is. It makes sense that if his command with that pitch was lacking, the above numbers would be inflated. Any major leaguer should be able to do damage to a fastball not properly located. 

Specific pitch numbers

Speaking of his fastball, it simply hasn’t been as effective as we know it can be. From last season, his whiff percentage on the pitch is down from 37.6 to 17.1 percent and his put away percentage is down from 32.8 to 16.7 percent. If you look at the movement, however, it is not too far off:

Season

Vertical Movement (inches)

Horizontal Movement (inches)

2019

10.9 (2.9 more than league average)

11.4 (3.6 more than league average)

2020

11.9 (2.1 more than league average)

11.8 (4.0 more than league average)

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2020
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2019

 

Overall, it looks like his fastball has been similarly located the past two seasons. Yet you can see hitters putting some good swings on the pitch this year.

He also hasn’t been able to throw his curveball for strikes as much. He threw it in the zone 49.5 percent of the time last year, while it has dropped to only 25 percent of the time this year.  

However, he has actually been getting more swings and misses with his curveball: 31.9 percent in 2019 and 81.8 percent in 2020 (only 40 pitches).

How about the spin? It’s a little below last year, but still very good:

Season Fastball Spin Curveball Spin Slider Spin Changeup Spin
2019 2530 2901 2622 1870
2020 2499 (-1.2%) 2806 (-3.3%) 2568 (-2.1%) 1847 (-1.2%)

Am I nitpicking? Yes. Am I worried about Cole? Of course not. He’s on a new team in a new environment with a new catcher. Plus, there’s everything else that has been going on in 2020. I’m sure he’ll find his rhythm sooner rather than later (saying that he hasn’t found his rhythm yet and has still been very good is scary for opposing teams) — he’ll the $326 million man we all dreamed of.

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Yankees option Andujar, Estrada and Nelson to Alternate Site http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/yankees-option-andujar-estrada-and-nelson-to-alternate-site/ Thu, 06 Aug 2020 14:42:58 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81177 As per the roster rules for the 2020 season, all Major League clubs must trim their active roster to 28 players by Thursday’s deadline. Teams will be allowed to carry 28 players for the remainder of the season, but will be provided with an extra roster space on doubleheader days. On Thursday morning, the Yankees announced that they have optioned three players to their alternate site. The Yankees current roster sits at 27 players. Following last night’s game, the Yankees […]

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As per the roster rules for the 2020 season, all Major League clubs must trim their active roster to 28 players by Thursday’s deadline. Teams will be allowed to carry 28 players for the remainder of the season, but will be provided with an extra roster space on doubleheader days.

On Thursday morning, the Yankees announced that they have optioned three players to their alternate site. The Yankees current roster sits at 27 players.

The biggest surprise here has to be Andujar, who is simply a man without a full-time position. With the emergence of Gio Urshela at third base, along with a crowded outfield, there currently isn’t everyday opportunities for the now 25-year-old.

In five games this season, Andujar picked up just one hit over 14 plate appearances. This decision probably wasn’t an easy one for the Yankees, but with his struggles (both offensively and defensively) it makes sense for them to let him work on his overall game at the Alternate Site.

After an impressive summer camp period, Estrada earned his way onto the team’s Opening Day roster. However, there weren’t many opportunities for the 24-year-old, as he appeared in just two games for the Bronx Bombers.

Nelson was called up to the big league squad to help provide depth in the bullpen. In his Major League debut on August 1, the 24-year-old was brilliant. Nelson threw three no-hit innings and picked up his first big league victory against the Boston Red Sox.

Although his first appearance was great, his second appearance was not as good.

During Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Phillies, Nelson was roughed up, allowing six runs on seven hits over 1 2/3 innings of work. After the rough outing, along with a high pitch count, it makes sense that Nelson was optioned, as he would not have been a factor in the Yankees bullpen for the next few days anyways.

With the roster currently sitting at 27 players, it will be interesting to see how the final spot is filled. The spot could be saved for Aroldis Chapman, who may be ready to return in the near future. If they are looking to fill the spot until Chapman’s return, maybe another bullpen arm will get the call to provide some much-needed depth over the next few days.

Another possibility could be Clarke Schmidt. It doesn’t appear that the Yankees are ready to make a rotation switch at this point, but with James Paxton and J.A. Happ’s struggles, it could be only a matter of time until the young right-hander gets his opportunity in the Bronx.

Continue to follow the Bronx Pinstripes team for all the latest news and updates regarding the New York Yankees.

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Potential Yankees bullpen trade targets http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/potential-yankees-bullpen-trade-targets/ Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:39:29 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=81115 The Yankees’ bullpen was one of their biggest strengths in 2019. Their core group of relievers (Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, and Chad Green) all returned in 2020. Unfortunately, that group has already taken a hit, as Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. Even without him, the Yankee bullpen is arguably the best in the league. However, Kahnle’s spot will need to be replaced somehow. More likely than not, the Bombers will look to replace Kahnle […]

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The Yankees’ bullpen was one of their biggest strengths in 2019. Their core group of relievers (Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, and Chad Green) all returned in 2020. Unfortunately, that group has already taken a hit, as Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday. Even without him, the Yankee bullpen is arguably the best in the league. However, Kahnle’s spot will need to be replaced somehow.

More likely than not, the Bombers will look to replace Kahnle from within. Nick Nelson looked great in his major league debut on Saturday, and Jonathan Loaisiga could be asked to step-up as well. But what if Brian Cashman decides he needs to add a reliever? After all, you can never have enough pitching. Here are a couple guys the Yankees’ GM could be inquiring about later this month.

Josh Hader, Brewers

Swinging for the fences right away with this one. Hader is one of the best relievers in baseball, and has dominated since his debut in 2017. A tall, hard-throwing lefty, Hader boasted a 2.62 ERA and 16.4 K/9 in 2019. He wouldn’t just fill Kahnle’s spot, he would instantly become the best reliever in the Yankees’ pen.

However, since Hader is so dominant, he would not come cheap. He’s under control for three more seasons past 2020. It would take a large prospect package to acquire him, if the Brewers even made him available. They’re off to a slow start, so maybe if they get the right offer, Milwaukee would trade him. For right now though, it’s probably nothing more than a pipe dream.

Ken Giles, Blue Jays

I know what most of you are probably thinking. Yes, THAT Ken Giles.

Giles was actually great for Toronto in 2019, pitching to a 1.87 ERA and a 14.1 K/9 in 53 appearances. The Yankees were apparently interested in Giles at last year’s trade deadline, however he was battling elbow tendinitis at the time. He’s also currently out with a forearm strain, so we’ll have to see if he’s able to make a return before this year’s deadline.

If Giles is healthy, he actually makes a lot of sense for the Yankees. He’s a free agent at season’s end, and as we saw with J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays have made deadline deals with the Yanks before.

Ian Kennedy, Royals

There could be a potential reunion brewing. Kennedy was a former Yankees’ top prospect and part of the “Big Three” with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Although that trio never quite panned out, Kennedy has made a nice career for himself. He saw success after transitioning to a relief role last season, posting a 3.41 ERA in 63 appearances. Although he isn’t as dominant as the first two guys I mentioned on here, the Yanks probably wouldn’t have to give up as much for him. Like Giles, Kennedy is a free agent after 2020, so the Royals would likely be willing to move him.

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks

The Yankees were briefly tied to Bradley at last season’s trade deadline, and it makes sense why. Bradley has a lot of upside, pitching to a 1.73 ERA in 2017 and receiving some MVP votes. He wasn’t as dominant the last two seasons, pitching to mid-3 ERAs, but Bradley is a very effective reliever. Plus, the guy can rake, too.

The Diamondbacks are off to a 3-8 start and Bradley has just one year of control left, so it’s possible they’d be willing to deal him. The deadline is still a few weeks away, so for now, all we can do is wait.

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