Bronx Pinstripes | BronxPinstripes.com http://bronxpinstripes.com Bronx Pinstripes - A New York Yankees Community for the Fans, by the Fans Sat, 20 Apr 2019 19:37:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.4 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 leaves game in sixth inning http://bronxpinstripes.com/injuries/aaron-judge-leaves-game-in-sixth-inning/ Sat, 20 Apr 2019 19:31:34 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66941 New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge could be the next player to potentially hit the injured list. During the sixth inning of the Yankees game against the Kansas City Royals, Judge hit a one-out single to right field. Following the swing, he immediately grabbed around his left oblique/rib cage area and was promptly taken out of the game. After Judge swung, he reached for his left side. Maybe oblique area. He leaves game. Stay tuned. — Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) […]

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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge could be the next player to potentially hit the injured list.

During the sixth inning of the Yankees game against the Kansas City Royals, Judge hit a one-out single to right field. Following the swing, he immediately grabbed around his left oblique/rib cage area and was promptly taken out of the game.

Tyler Wade replaced Judge at first base, and later as a defensive replacement in right field.

We will keep you updated as we await news on Judge’s condition.

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Gio Gonzalez to opt-out of Yankees deal http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/gio-gonzalez-to-opt-out-of-contract/ Sat, 20 Apr 2019 15:27:14 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66937 Gio Gonzalez will exercise his opt-out clause in his contract on Saturday. This move will give the Yankees 48 hours to add him to their major league roster, or to grant him his release. Yesterday, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that Gonzalez has decided to change agents. The veteran left Scott Boras and will now be represented by CAA. Agent news: Gio Gonzalez has left Scott Boras and is now represented by CAA, per sources. Gonzalez must be added to the […]

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Gio Gonzalez will exercise his opt-out clause in his contract on Saturday. This move will give the Yankees 48 hours to add him to their major league roster, or to grant him his release.

Yesterday, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that Gonzalez has decided to change agents. The veteran left Scott Boras and will now be represented by CAA.

Later on, Feinsand reported that there was an “increasing sense” that Gonzalez was intending on opting out of his deal. It was also noted that the Yankees do not have plans to add the left-hander to their big league roster.

After dealing with a tough free agent market during the offseason, Gonzalez settled on a minor league contract with the Yankees. With some starting pitching concerns (due to Luis Severino and CC Sabathia‘s injuries), there was a chance that Gonzalez could find his way onto the club’s big league roster.

However, Sabathia has since returned from injury, and Domingo German has been solid during his time in the rotation. Although the Yankees still could use some help with their starting rotation, it doesn’t seem likely that Gonzalez will get a shot in the Bronx.

The 33-year-old will likely hit the free agent market again, hoping to find a home with another big league club. There could be some potential interest from teams who need starting pitching, and the cross-town rival Mets could be a potential landing spot for the veteran.

Over his 11-year big league career, Gonzalez has posted a 127-97 record with a 3.69 ERA in 313 career games. He is a two-time All-Star and finished in the top six of the CY Young Award voting twice.

Once he officially opts-out, the Yankees will have 48 hours to make their decision. Will Gonzalez find a spot on the Yankees 25-man roster, or will the Bronx Bombers allow the veteran to find another home?

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

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Yankees back on track with win against KC http://bronxpinstripes.com/game-day/yankees-back-on-track-with-win-against-kc/ Sat, 20 Apr 2019 08:01:56 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66933 NEW YORK — Like he’s done so many other times in his Yankee career, CC Sabathia served as the team’s stopper as his outing set the tone for a New York win, 6-2, over the Kansas City Royals. Giving up just an unearned run in five strong innings, the Yankee left-hander also struckout five Royals which puts him just six away from the historic 3,000 strikeout plateau. As for the offense, Brett Gardner hit the go-ahead home run in the […]

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NEW YORK — Like he’s done so many other times in his Yankee career, CC Sabathia served as the team’s stopper as his outing set the tone for a New York win, 6-2, over the Kansas City Royals.

Giving up just an unearned run in five strong innings, the Yankee left-hander also struckout five Royals which puts him just six away from the historic 3,000 strikeout plateau.

As for the offense, Brett Gardner hit the go-ahead home run in the third, immediately after the KC unearned run, to put the Yankees up for good. The squad improved to 27-6, since 2017, when Gardner has gone deep.

Aside from Gardner, Mike Tauchman also went deep with his second long ball of the year. Facing Jakob Junis, who was the pitcher that injured Aaron Judge last year, the Yankees made sure to get their revenge the right way.

Tagging him for five runs on six hits, the Bombers provided their bullpen more than enough of a cushion to bring home the victory.

While Luis Cessa did give up a run on two hits in his lone inning, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Zack Britton all provided Aaron Boone hitless innings to seal the squad’s ninth win of the season.

As for the unearned run that came across in the third, Adalberto Mondesi drove in Billy Hamilton, who had reached earlier on an error by Luke Voit. The play, however, was preceded by a great play by Clint Frazier that saved a run with a great throw from right field.

The series continues tomorrow at 1:05, with Masahiro Tanaka taking on Heath Fillmyer.

Current Yankees Record: 9-10

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Report: Yankees sign Logan Morrison to minor league deal http://bronxpinstripes.com/news-rumors/report-yankees-sign-logan-morrison-to-minor-league-deal/ Fri, 19 Apr 2019 16:52:26 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66926 The New York Yankees made a rather surprising signing on Friday morning. First baseman Logan Morrison and the New York Yankees are in agreement on a minor league deal, sources tell ESPN. He’s got an opt-out date of July 1 and will make $1 million if he’s added to the major league roster. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 19, 2019 According to multiple sources, the Yankees have agreed to a minor league deal with Logan Morrison. The 31-year-old will reportedly […]

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The New York Yankees made a rather surprising signing on Friday morning.


According to multiple sources, the Yankees have agreed to a minor league deal with Logan Morrison. The 31-year-old will reportedly head to extended Spring Training before being added to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster.

Last season, Morrison was hampered by injuries, and was forced to miss an extended period of time due to surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Over 95 games, the left-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder posted a slash line of .186/.276/.368.

Just a year prior, Morrison had a breakout campaign with the Tampa Bay Rays. Morrison posted career-highs in homers (38) and RBIs (85), and was a steady force in the Rays everyday lineup.

Yankees fans will remember Morrison as the guy who criticized Gary Sanchez‘s selection into the 2017 MLB Home Run Derby.

After Morrison was heckled at Yankee Stadium last season, the veteran took aim at Yankees fans, saying that, “You can’t fix stupid.”

The move makes sense for the Yankees, as they look to add additional depth, especially at the first base position. With Greg Bird injured again, it doesn’t hurt to have insurance in case the big league club eventually needs another bat.

In his report, Passan noted that Morrison will have an opt-out date of July 1. He will make $1 million if he is added to the Yankees big league roster at some point this season.

If Morrison does, in fact, make it to the big leagues, it will be interesting to see how Yankee fans react. Morrison will very likely have to win over Yankees fans if he does eventually land in the Bronx.

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

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Yankees fall flat in series opening loss to Royals http://bronxpinstripes.com/game-day/yankees-fall-flat-in-series-opening-loss-to-royals/ Fri, 19 Apr 2019 05:58:38 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66923 NEW YORK — With the Yankees riding high off a two-game sweep of the rival Red Sox, the team had the chance of getting back to .500 in the standings. Instead, its offense, that looked to have finally hit its stride, was shutdown by Homer Bailey and the KC staff. After a Gleyber Torres sacrifice fly knotted up the score at one, at the bottom half of the first inning, New York was unable to muster up any offense from […]

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NEW YORK — With the Yankees riding high off a two-game sweep of the rival Red Sox, the team had the chance of getting back to .500 in the standings. Instead, its offense, that looked to have finally hit its stride, was shutdown by Homer Bailey and the KC staff.

After a Gleyber Torres sacrifice fly knotted up the score at one, at the bottom half of the first inning, New York was unable to muster up any offense from then on.

Bailey ended up going six strong, giving up just three hits and the lone run in the first.

On the other side, Domingo German did not have his best stuff tonight, giving up a pair of home runs to Jorge Soler and Ryan O’Hearn, but he still gave his squad a quality start that kept the Yankees in the ball game. In six innings, he gave up just six hits and struckout nine Royals.

One of the lone Yankee highlights came in the fifth inning, when Aaron Judge robbed Billy Hamilton of a hit to save German a baserunner.

In the seventh, Aaron Boone turned to Jonathan Holder in an attempt to keep the score at 3-1, Kansas City. Unfortunately for the right-hander, after striking out Lucas Duda, three straight Royal hits culminated in a Whit Merrifield ground-rule double to make it 4-1 and force Boone to make another change.

Now facing Zack Britton, Adalberto Mondesi then hit a sac fly to drive in Hamilton from third, before Alex Gordon struckout to end the frame.

Mondesi subsequently added another sac fly in the ninth to make it 6-1, as the Yankees entered the bottom of the frame.

While New York tried to start a rally, former Yankee Ian Kennedy closed out the Bombers with a scoreless ninth inning.

In the game, Mike Ford also made his Yankee debut, starting the game at DH. While he was not able to record his first Major League hit, he did work a walk against Richard Lovelady in the seventh.

CC Sabathia hopes to get the Bombers back in the win column tomorrow, as he faces Jakob Junis.

Current Yankees Record: 8-10

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What happens to Greg Bird now? http://bronxpinstripes.com/featured-column/what-happens-to-greg-bird/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 18:34:58 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66896 The Yankees said that Greg Bird is going to be out a month with a plantar fascia tear. By Yankees logic in terms of injury return timetables, you have to move the decimal over about two spots to the right and that is probably more of an actual timetable for Bird. Who knows when we’ll see him again. For a guy who was essentially the first baby bomber to breakthrough in 2015, it’s strange to see how such a young hitter […]

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The Yankees said that Greg Bird is going to be out a month with a plantar fascia tear. By Yankees logic in terms of injury return timetables, you have to move the decimal over about two spots to the right and that is probably more of an actual timetable for Bird.

Who knows when we’ll see him again. For a guy who was essentially the first baby bomber to breakthrough in 2015, it’s strange to see how such a young hitter with so much promise and backing from the front office essentially just petered out to a point where, a team riddled with injuries won’t miss his production because he didn’t really do anything anyway.

If his replacement Mike Ford goes hitless for prolonged periods of time, it’s essentially what Bird has done since 2018.

I can’t even begin to imagine what Bird is feeling right now. All he’s ever known is baseball and being good at it. Just look at him slinging dingers in high school. He never could’ve imagined the vitriol that would be pointed at him by the Yankee Stadium faithful coming some eight years-later.

Maybe only Robb Stark has had such a bigger fall from grace the way Bird has. Here are two guys who looked the part of the conquering hero and were thought to be the prince we were promised.

Both had their great moments to make you think this too. Robb’s time in the spotlight came after defeating the Lannister forces a few times in battle and Bird’s was the Andrew Miller home run.

In the end though, Robb was mutilated at a wedding and Bird was mutilated by 89 mile per hour off-speed pitches right down broadway that he couldn’t catch up to.

Their predecessors were never thought to be the quintessential hero figure either. Jon Snow, the bastard of the Starks – allegedly – became the King of the North and Luke Voit, a young man who was destined for a lot of minor league bus rides in the St. Louis Cardinals organization – essentially making him a baseball bastard – now dons the role of first basemen for the New York Yankees.

In all honesty, I don’t know what happens to Bird. Maybe there’s an alternate universe where he comes back healthy and goes on to win Comeback Player of the Year. I just don’t see it here, though.

I don’t know how many more chances he gets from the front office now. Having to compete with Voit for a job that has been his for years should’ve been a sign that maybe this was the last straw for him. I guess we shall see.

Now Brian Cashman’s statements regarding the Bird injury don’t really lend themselves to optimism either:

“Obviously the injury history is for the record and every question is fair game,” Cashman was quoted as saying in the New York Post. “Obviously when you employ a player like that, you give all the treatment possible to try and stay healthy. It is a fair question to ask. Obviously I don’t have an answer. I don’t want to pile on while [Bird] is going through things. We are going to give him the best care and treatment possible.”

When Cashman says “pile on” you have to wonder just what that means. Is he purposely holding out on the future of Greg Bird because, well, things probably can’t go any worse for him?

As we saw with Sonny Gray, Cashman doesn’t usually mince words. Guess we’ll have to file this under “We shall see”, as well.

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Did the Yankees just end the Red Sox franchise? http://bronxpinstripes.com/blog/did-the-yankees-just-end-the-red-sox-franchise/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 18:21:45 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66911 Did the Yankees just sweep a 2-game series in April between two under .500 teams, or did they just end an entire franchise? Many people would say it is the former, but according to this quote by David Price, it may be the latter. “If we don’t start playing better, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, maybe myself, we could get traded. We’re, what, 30th in minor league systems?” Price told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. “We’re dead last. We don’t play […]

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Did the Yankees just sweep a 2-game series in April between two under .500 teams, or did they just end an entire franchise? Many people would say it is the former, but according to this quote by David Price, it may be the latter.

“If we don’t start playing better, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, maybe myself, we could get traded. We’re, what, 30th in minor league systems?” Price told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. “We’re dead last. We don’t play better, Mookie Betts will be traded, J.D. Martinez will be traded. It will be tough for a while here.”

A once proud franchise, that last year came into the Bronx and had the balls to play “New York, New York,” is now falling apart at the seams. Could you imagine JA Happ openly talking about trading Aaron Judge? It’s institutional chaos at the highest level.

It’s been a lot of doom and gloom so far this year, but the last couple days have been a real shot in the arm for Yankee fans around the world. As we inch closer to getting above .500 and getting back our All-Star lineup from the injured reserve, it appears that our biggest enemy is eating itself from the inside out, thanks to an April sweep by your 2019 WORLD SERIES CHAMPION NEW YORK YANKEES!

I’ll see you all at the parade.

Source

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Series Recap: Yankees bust out brooms on Bosox http://bronxpinstripes.com/series-recap/series-recap-yankees-bust-out-brooms-on-bosox/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 14:06:59 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66867 Their first home series sweep and victory couldn’t have come a better or sweeter time for the New York Yankees. Taking the two-game tilt, the Bronx Bombers easily dispatched the Boston Red Sox and brought back positive vibes to Yankee Stadium. The starting pitching stepped up, bullpen shored up and even a compromised lineup was more than up to the task in the first leg of the rivalry in 2019. Embed from Getty Images GAME 1 In their first game […]

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Their first home series sweep and victory couldn’t have come a better or sweeter time for the New York Yankees. Taking the two-game tilt, the Bronx Bombers easily dispatched the Boston Red Sox and brought back positive vibes to Yankee Stadium. The starting pitching stepped up, bullpen shored up and even a compromised lineup was more than up to the task in the first leg of the rivalry in 2019.

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GAME 1

In their first game against the Sawx since Game 4 of the 2018 ALDS, the Yanks played their most complete game of 2019 thus far and it was sweet! The Bronx Bombers played a fundamentally sound game and busted Boston for an 8-0 victory.

SETTING LE TABLE

Chris Sale didn’t shred his jersey but the pinstripes lineup ripped him apart. Batting in the seven hole, Brett Gardner led off the third inning with a double to right. Gardner would advance to third on a flyout to center by Austin Romine. Then with two down, there would be no runner stranded in scoring position because DJ LeMahieu plated Gardner with a single to right for a 1-0 New York lead.

After an Aaron Judge walk, a Luke Voit single to center would send home LeMahieu and double the lead for the pinstripes at 2-0.

A GAME OF INCHES

One could argue the game took a turn on a couple of balls hit to right field in the fourth frame. One ball bounced back and the other bounced over.

After James Paxton walked Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts drove a shot to right but the ball stayed in play for a double rather than a home run. Even with two RISP, Paxton seemed to settle down and on consecutive fly outs to right by J.D. Martinez and Steve Pearce, not even Betts wanted to test Judge’s cannon arm. Paxton whiffed Mitch Moreland and doused the threat.

Conversely, in the home half of the fourth, Clint Frazier homered to right-center on a ball that bounced off the top of the wall and into the bleachers.

TAUCH THE TAUCH, WALK THE WALK

In addition to Gardner, another lefty bat touched up Sale and the Bosox good. Following a two-out single to center by Romine in the fourth, Mike Tauchman ripped an RBI-double to right, advancing to third on the throw.

Moving to the sixth inning and facing Erasmo Ramirez, Gio Urshela set the table with a rope double to left. After Gardner coaxed a free pass, a Romine sacrifice bunt advanced both runners into scoring position. What followed was a “Mike drop,” as Tauchman tattooed a bomb to the second deck in right for his first career MLB home run.

GLEYBER GOOD AND GONE

Capping off the onslaught in the eighth inning was Gleyber Torres, smacking a solo shot to right off Ramirez for his fourth of the campaign.

PAX ATTACKS

Before I start in on this, shoutout to Carlos Beltran for diagnosing and fixing Paxton’s pitch tipping. Paxton was game and displayed laser-like focus on the evening. We’re talking 97-98 mph darts on the black. Nasty stuff. The fireballing southpaw sizzled with 12 K’s in eight scoreless innings, yielding two hits and one walk.

Paxton had his four-seamer and cutter working, fanning the side in the second and seventh. As mentioned above, the Big Maple was able to bear down against the heart of the Boston order in the fourth to work out of a jam unscathed. He even recorded a couple of K’s via a knuckle curve ala 2001 Mike Mussina, a pitch which was flat out filthy feeding off those heaters.

D-IO URSHELA

In addition to his offensive exploits, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Urshela’s defensive play at the hot corner in the sixth. Essentially falling down into foul territory, Urshela was able to throw out the speedy Betts at first base with room to spare. Impressive.

GAME 2

Coming into the season many prognosticators said the difference maker separating the Yankees from the Red Sox this season would be the bullpen. Wednesday evening’s contest saw that notion come to fruition as the Bronx Bombers battled back and sealed off a 5-3 victory.

HAPP CLAPS BACK

At first glance, it appeared as if J.A. Happ was never going to hit his spots. A home run to J.D. Martinez in the first frame to Monument Park and a two-run home run to right by light-hitting catcher Christian Vazquez in the second stanza made it 3-0 Boston.

Yet, Happ would regain his composure and pitch to the scoreboard and allow the lineup to stay within striking distance.

The crafty lefty gave the pinstripes distance, going 6.1 frames, fanning four, allowing six hits, three runs, and one walk.

FRAZIER FIRE

Frazier continued his hot hitting with RISP against Nathan Eovaldi in the fourth frame. After Voit, who reached base safely for his 28th consecutive contest, walked and advanced to second on an Eduardo Nunez error as Torres reached safely on a fielder’s choice, Frazier smoked an RBI-double to left to get the Yankees on the board.

Frazier is an incredible 6-for-13 with one home run and eight RBI with RISP on the early season.

It was all part of a 3-for-4 evening for Frazier.

100 GRAND GARDY PARTY

Working Eovaldi out of the game in the seventh and facing Brandon Workman, the Bronx Bombers went off. Frazier set the table with a single to left. Tauchman and Romine reached on walks around an Urshela strikeout.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora called on “closer” Ryan Braiser to face Gardner but it was Gardner who’d blow the lid off this case. The veteran center fielder smacked an 0-2 fastball into the rightfield stands and it was bedlam in the Bronx and a 5-3 Yankees lead.

The grand slam marked home run No. 100 on his Yankees career. Gardner joined Derek Jeter as the only two players in franchise history with at least 100 home runs and 250 stolen bases. Gardner also joined Eric Soderholm, Matt Nokes, and Jacoby Ellsbury as Yankee players to reach the milestone with a grand slam. Pretty cool stuff.

BOLTING DOWN BEANTOWN

As mentioned conversely the New York pen was on point. Tommy Kahnle picked up Happ in the seventh, stranding Rafael Devers by getting Vazquez to ground out and Jackie Bradley Jr. to strike out on some 98 mph heat.

Adam Ottavino worked into and out of a jam in the eighth.

Aroldis Chapman was sharp in the ninth with a 1-2-3 frame.

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ON DECK

At 8-9 the Yankees host the Kansas City Royals for a four-game series starting Thursday evening.

Pitching probables, Homer Bailey vs. Domingo German, Jakob Junis vs. CC Sabathia, Heath Fillmyer vs. Masahiro Tanaka, Jorge Lopez vs. James Paxton.

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Paxton + Gardy Lead Yankees to Sweep the Red Sox – The Bronx Pinstripes Show http://bronxpinstripes.com/podcast/paxton-gardy-lead-yankees-to-sweep-the-red-sox-the-bronx-pinstripes-show/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 13:55:08 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66903 The Bronx Pinstripes Show #323 We’re feeling good finally! The Yankees took both games vs Boston. We discuss James Paxton setting the tone with a dominant performance, earning your pinstripes vs signature Yankee moment, the Yankees finally hitting Chris Sale, JA Happ’s adjustments, what awesome thing did Aaron Judge do, and yet another injury to Greg Bird. Bronx Pinstripes writer Rohan Arcot (@rohanarcot20) joins the show to talk about the advanced metrics behind Chad Green’s struggles, including his K-rate, pitch […]

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The Bronx Pinstripes Show #323

We’re feeling good finally! The Yankees took both games vs Boston. We discuss James Paxton setting the tone with a dominant performance, earning your pinstripes vs signature Yankee moment, the Yankees finally hitting Chris Sale, JA Happ’s adjustments, what awesome thing did Aaron Judge do, and yet another injury to Greg Bird.

Bronx Pinstripes writer Rohan Arcot (@rohanarcot20) joins the show to talk about the advanced metrics behind Chad Green’s struggles, including his K-rate, pitch mix, statcast data, and most importantly, what Green needs to do to get back on track.

 

Subscribe to The Bronx Pinstripes Show wherever you listen to podcasts!

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Summarizing the Yankees’ injuries http://bronxpinstripes.com/injuries/summarizing-the-yankees-injuries/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 13:54:00 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66870 It’s no secret that the Yankees are absolutely decimated by injuries right now. Some might even look at a team one could assemble with the players currently on the IL and say that it would beat the team that consists of players who are healthy. Here’s what the IL looks like right now with their WAR from last season: PLAYER 2018 WAR Gary Sanchez 1.7 Didi Gregorius 4.6 Troy Tulowitzki – Miguel Andujar 2.7 Giancarlo Stanton 4.2 Aaron Hicks 4.9 […]

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It’s no secret that the Yankees are absolutely decimated by injuries right now. Some might even look at a team one could assemble with the players currently on the IL and say that it would beat the team that consists of players who are healthy. Here’s what the IL looks like right now with their WAR from last season:

PLAYER 2018 WAR
Gary Sanchez 1.7
Didi Gregorius 4.6
Troy Tulowitzki
Miguel Andujar 2.7
Giancarlo Stanton 4.2
Aaron Hicks 4.9
Jacoby Ellsbury
Luis Severino 5.5
Jordan Montgomery
Dellin Betances 1.7
Greg Bird 0.0
AVERAGE WAR 2.3

Keep in mind, there are some discrepancies when calculating WAR for position players versus pitchers (especially relief pitchers), but a WAR of about 2.3 is considered to be a “solid starter” by FanGraphs. Thus, it is as if the Yankees are currently down ten solid starters. The average WAR from the table even takes into account the three players who didn’t play at all in 2018. It also takes into account Bird’s WAR of 0.0. If you take them out of the equation, the average WAR bumps up to 3.6. That is considered missing seven “good players” right below All-Star level (4-5 WAR).

If you want to compare the black hole that is the injured list between this season and last season, it is quite startling. In total, there were 23 DL (as it was called last year) stints. This ranked tenth-most in the MLB. The 2019 team has already had nine through 15 games. Granted, a couple of them occurred in Spring Training, but the sentiment is the same nonetheless. And to make matters worse, prospects who were expected to potentially make an impact in the MLB this year, such as Estevan Florial and Michael King, are also on the shelf. At this rate, fans might want to dust off your old glove – they might get the call.

The Yankees just need to hold down the fort until the All-Star break. If the current timelines are correct, they could get key players such as Severino, Betances, Stanton, and Hicks back by then. Throw in possible returns from Gregorius and maybe even Montgomery and the team will be infused with a boatload of talent. But until then, the Mike Tauchman’s, Clint Frazier’s, and Gio Urshela’s of the world will have to weather the storm.

 

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Gardner’s grand slam keys Yankees win over Boston http://bronxpinstripes.com/game-day/gardners-grand-slam-keys-yankees-win-over-boston/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 04:37:08 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66890 NEW YORK — Coming off yesterday’s feel good win over the Red Sox last night, the Yankees hoped to keep the momentum going in tonight’s series finale. With the bases loaded, and New York down 3-1 in the seventh, Brett Gardner made sure it happened. Facing Ryan Brasier, the Yankee left fielder clubbed his 100th career home run, with an emphatic grand slam into the stands in right field to give the Bombers the lead for good, 5-3. Things weren’t […]

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NEW YORK — Coming off yesterday’s feel good win over the Red Sox last night, the Yankees hoped to keep the momentum going in tonight’s series finale. With the bases loaded, and New York down 3-1 in the seventh, Brett Gardner made sure it happened.

Facing Ryan Brasier, the Yankee left fielder clubbed his 100th career home run, with an emphatic grand slam into the stands in right field to give the Bombers the lead for good, 5-3.

Things weren’t looking good early for Aaron Boone’s squad as the rival Red Sox jumped on starter J.A. Happ, scoring in the game’s first two innings.

In the opening frame, usual suspect J.D. Martinez knocked in a solo shot for his fourth home run of the year. Christian Vazquez then hit one of the two-run variety in the very inning to give his squad an early 3-0 lead.

New York finally got to starter Nathan Eovaldi in the fourth inning, with Clint Frazier’s first RBI-double of the year. The Yankee DH got three hits tonight, raising his average to .333 in the young season.

In the seventh, Frazier, Mika Tauchman, and Austin Romine all got on base against Brandon Workman, which set-up Gardner’s go-ahead hit against the new pitcher Brasier.

It was then smooth sailing in the eight and ninth, respectively, with Adam Ottavino pitching the former and Aroldis Chapman closing it out for his third save of the year.

The Yankees look to keep the momentum going as the home stand continues with Domingo German facing Homer Bailey and the Kansas City Royals tomorrow at 6:35.

Current Yankees Record: 8-9

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George’s Box: Episode #5 – When Do We Turn The Corner? http://bronxpinstripes.com/podcast/georges-box-episode-5-when-do-we-turn-the-corner/ Wed, 17 Apr 2019 13:54:07 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66875 George’s Box Episode #5 Things start off doom and gloom as JJ and Keith talk about everything going wrong for the Yankees. Getting swept in Houston, losing to the White Sox, and the injuries. Other topics include, CC’s return, a recap of the Bronx Pinstripes event on Saturday and how the Yankees World Series DVD is going to be laid out. Subscribe to George’s Box wherever you get your podcasts!

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George’s Box Episode #5

Things start off doom and gloom as JJ and Keith talk about everything going wrong for the Yankees. Getting swept in Houston, losing to the White Sox, and the injuries. Other topics include, CC’s return, a recap of the Bronx Pinstripes event on Saturday and how the Yankees World Series DVD is going to be laid out.

Subscribe to George’s Box wherever you get your podcasts!

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The Yankees suffer yet another injury http://bronxpinstripes.com/blog/the-yankees-suffer-yet-another-injury/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 19:58:28 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66858 If you’re a Yankees fan and you’re on Twitter, then you probably know that a tradition every day around mid-afternoon for night games or late-morning for day games is to bitch about the lineup. Defend the Bronx. Powered by @Biofreeze pic.twitter.com/UHCq3hu4Tw — New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 16, 2019 Just look in the comments on any lineup tweet and you’ll see what I mean. Why is Tauchman playing?! Why is Voit still batting third?! Where is Mike Ford?! Aaron Boone […]

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If you’re a Yankees fan and you’re on Twitter, then you probably know that a tradition every day around mid-afternoon for night games or late-morning for day games is to bitch about the lineup.

Just look in the comments on any lineup tweet and you’ll see what I mean. Why is Tauchman playing?! Why is Voit still batting third?! Where is Mike Ford?! Aaron Boone needs to go! Bring back Girardi!

It is exhausting.

Listen, I get just as annoyed over things like rest days for a player who just went 4-for-4 with two dingers or Brett Gardner hitting leadoff when they have a perfectly good alternative in DJ LeMahieu hitting close to .400. (Sidenote: be prepared for Gardy to be back leading off Wednesday vs the RHP Eovaldi.) But what is the team to do at this point? They could literally field an entire team — a good one, mind you — of injured players.

Even though half the team is injured Yankees fans still expect to see Ruth, Mantle, DiMaggio, and Jeter in there every night. The 25-man roster includes Mike Tauchman, Tyler Wade, Kyle Higashioka and now Mike Ford, so you’re going to see them play. Stanton, Andujar, Sanchez and Hicks are not available no matter how many times you tweet in anger about it.

If you want to question the medical staff or be angry they didn’t sign certain free agents in the off season, that’s a different story. But right now a significant amount of key players are hurt and the lineup is what it is.

Last chances for Bird?

The latest injury news today is that Greg Bird is hitting the IL a with left plantar fascia tear and he will be in a walking boot for two weeks and evaluated after that. While the news sucks, it isn’t like Bird was helping the team. He was hitting .171 with 1 home run and playing barely league average defense. Mike Ford cannot be any worse.

What does this mean for Bird long term? Who knows. This is now the fourth season in a row that he’s been injured. In 2016 he missed an entire season due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder. In 2017 he missed time because he had surgery to remove a bone in his right foot, and in 2018 he had a bone spur in his right ankle. This time it’s his left foot, so at least he’s spreading the pain around.

The injuries are laughable at this point and they start a series against their biggest rival tonight. All you can ask for is to stay afloat until some guys come back.

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Passing on Corbin for Happ: A costly mistake http://bronxpinstripes.com/pitching-staff/passing-on-corbin-for-happ-a-costly-mistake/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 19:00:07 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66798 The 2019 free agent class was supposed to be a monster haul for the Yankees, and it was supposed to start with Patrick Corbin. It just seemed to make too much sense. New York  had shown an interest in trading for Corbin after the 2017 season. Corbin was from New York, had verbally expressed a desire to pitch for the Yankees to Bob Nightengale in a USA Today interview, and was only meeting with teams in the northeast. The Yankees […]

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The 2019 free agent class was supposed to be a monster haul for the Yankees, and it was supposed to start with Patrick Corbin. It just seemed to make too much sense. New York  had shown an interest in trading for Corbin after the 2017 season. Corbin was from New York, had verbally expressed a desire to pitch for the Yankees to Bob Nightengale in a USA Today interview, and was only meeting with teams in the northeast. The Yankees stunned much of the baseball world by not even bothering to make Corbin an offer, and he signed a 6-year, $147M deal with Washington. Instead, the Yankees chose to bring back J.A. Happ on a 2-year deal with an option for a third year at 17 million per. This was a decision that will burn the Yankees in both the short and long term.

Corbin was better than Happ in 2018

Corbin was simply masterful in 2018.  In his age 28 season he threw 200 innings on the dot, struck out 246 hitters (11.1 k/9) had a career low 3.15 ERA, and finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. Conversely, Happ had a solid 2018, but he was weaker in pretty much every area. Happ threw 177.2 innings, had an ERA of 3.65, and struck out 193 hitters (9.8 k/9)

Happ was showing signs of decline, while Corbin continued to blossom.

In 2018, Happ’s ERA increased for the third year in a row and his spin rate started to decline as well. Meanwhile, finally healthy and recovered from Tommy John surgery, Corbin had his best season ever as he entered his prime. The Yankees refused to give Corbin a six year deal to take him through his age 34 season, but they had no problem guaranteeing Happ a contract through his age 37 season (and his age 38 season if the option vests!). In what world does this make any sense?

Dollars and Sense

Some fans were fine with Yankees passing on Corbin, sighting cost. In reality, $140M was a very fair amount for a two time all star coming off a top 5 CY young finish entering free agency at age 29. Some fans preferred Happ to Corbin because he cost less. The fact of the matter is that he cost less because he’s not as good of a pitcher. You get what you pay for. The Nationals are paying Corbin $23M this year to pitch like an ace. Corbin has a 2.84 ERA on the year and his k/9 is up to 11.4. He is striking out batters consistently and will be in the Cy Young conversation again. The Yankees are paying J.A. Happ $17M and he barley looks like a major league pitcher, sporting an 8.76 ERA. All of his starts have come against the Orioles and White Sox, and he hasn’t been able to beat any of them. The Nationals are paying “A” money for “A” production, and the Yankees are paying “B+” money for “C-” production. When the Yankees refused to pay Corbin, some people speculated that maybe they were saving money for Machado or Harper. Nope, the Yankees weren’t interested in paying any of the top level free agent talent during a wide open championship window. Truly nauseating.

Moving Forward

I don’t hate J.A. Happ. He was great in pinstripes last year, and last off season I actually wrote that the Yankees should sign BOTH Corbin and Happ. Happ is battle tested in the A.L. East. He is a consummate professional, great in the clubhouse, and extremely durable. I think his numbers will improve this year, and I was absolutely cool with bringing him back. The fact remains however that Corbin would have been a better fit on the 2019 Yankees. He’s younger, throws harder with better stuff, and expressed a desire to pitch here. The Yankees passed on him, and as he continues to dominate in Washington while Happ falters, it’s fair to question the decision. In trying to save a few bucks on the bottom line, the Yankees made a costly mistake.

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Pickles Pub in Baltimore Review – #StadiumEats http://bronxpinstripes.com/videos/pickles-pub-in-baltimore-review-stadiumeats/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 18:12:39 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66842 Pickles Pub across the street from Camden Yards claims to be the best sports bar in Baltimore. JJ went down to see the Yankees play the Orioles and checked out the scene at Pickles. Follow me on Twitter all season long to see where I’m eating: @JJFromTheBronx Also subscribe to our YouTube channel, where you can get all new videos, interviews, news recaps, and more.

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Pickles Pub across the street from Camden Yards claims to be the best sports bar in Baltimore. JJ went down to see the Yankees play the Orioles and checked out the scene at Pickles.

Follow me on Twitter all season long to see where I’m eating: @JJFromTheBronx

Also subscribe to our YouTube channel, where you can get all new videos, interviews, news recaps, and more.

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What’s Wrong with Chad Green? http://bronxpinstripes.com/stats-breakdown/whats-wrong-with-chad-green/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 13:48:36 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66837 For the past couple seasons, Chad Green has been one of the keys to the Yankees bullpen. Whether he was used as a fireman like in the 2017 Wild Card game or as a multi-inning force of doom, Green and his high-spin rate fastball have been one of the most effective relievers in all of baseball. What separates the Yankees’ bullpen from other bullpens in the game is guys like Chad Green. He isn’t the closer or the primary set-up […]

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For the past couple seasons, Chad Green has been one of the keys to the Yankees bullpen. Whether he was used as a fireman like in the 2017 Wild Card game or as a multi-inning force of doom, Green and his high-spin rate fastball have been one of the most effective relievers in all of baseball. What separates the Yankees’ bullpen from other bullpens in the game is guys like Chad Green. He isn’t the closer or the primary set-up man, yet during the 2017 season, he was arguably their best reliever.

In 2018, there were some signs of regression but nothing major. He went from an otherworldly 40% K rate to a stellar 32% K rate. For a guy who relies pretty much on one pitch, some regression was to be expected. Batters started to see him better, and I think crucially, started to see more guys like him in the game. The high-spin fastball rise has been well documented, and it makes sense that the more batters see pitches like that, the better they will become at hitting them.

This season, young as it is, has not been good for Chad Green. And with all the Yankee pitching injuries, getting him right is so important.

Pitch Selection

You can see here how compared to last year, he is relying slightly more on his off-speed pitches, likely because he became too predictable with the fastball. Green is also using his splitter more than in the past, and hopefully this pitch can help keep batters more honest. Interestingly, his pitch mix right now looks more like his excellent 2017 numbers than his merely awesome 2018 numbers. This trend will be worth monitoring throughout the season. Let’s take a look now at some of the advanced and predictive metrics to see what isn’t working.

Predictive Metrics

Image per River Ave Blues

A couple weeks ago, I used these Statcast rankings for all the Yankee pitchers to show how they fare according to Statcast. These numbers can help tell us how good or bad a pitcher is when it comes to various predictive metrics, and they can hint at future production or regression. Two numbers here stand out to me. The first is K%. I wrote above how Chad Green had excellent K% the last two years which you can see in the first two charts. However, this season his K% is abysmal, and is around 16%. That tells us that batters are not striking out against Green, and crucially that they are not swinging and missing against his pitches.

The second number to look at that concerns me is xwOBA. To quickly explain this alphabet soup, it tells us based on all the data, what should production look like against the pitcher. In 2017, you see how it was great. In 2018, you see how there was some regression, but Green still fared great. Thus far in 2019, damn that is bad. Hitters are faring well against him and that data tell us that production is justified.

Advanced Metrics

FanGraphs classifies contact as soft, medium, or hard. Obviously pitchers want to maximize soft contact and minimize hard contact. In 2018, Green’s soft contact rate was about 15%, medium around 35%, and hard around 45%.

This year, the soft contact rate is down to only 5% and the medium and hard rates have risen to 45% and 50% respectively. That means 2/3 of the soft contact Green used to induce has switched to medium and hard contact. That means more hard hit balls and more damage.

Another important metric for a pitcher like Green is Z-contact % and O-Contact %. Conrad has written about these stats excellently in his past few articles about other Yankee pitchers, and basically they mean “when batters swing at pitches in the zone, how often do they make contact” and “when batters swing at pitches out of the zone, how often do they make contact.”

For a pitcher like Green, Z-contact % is super important because he relies on swings and misses on his fastball. In 2017, his Z-contact % was 72.2%. Last season, it rose to 79.1%. This season, it is all the way up to 88.4%. That means when batters swing at a pitch in the strike zone, they make contact over 88% of the time. That is an incredibly high number which explains the lack of whiffs and strikeouts, and can also imply that batters are seeing the ball really well against Chad Green. Combined with the increase in hard contact, we can tell that hitters are making more contact against him, and that when they do make contact, they make really solid contact.

How to Move Forward

The pitch selection data actually give me hope that Green can improve. Hitters can clearly see and hit his fastball now better than ever before, and those off-speed pitches will become even more important. If he can figure out how to make either his slider or splitter somewhat effective, I think Chad Green can be effective again.

Interestingly, any changes in the effectiveness of these other pitches should show up in the numbers against his fastball. I know that may sound counter-intuitive, but if hitters have to honor some semblance of an off-speed pitch, they become less prepared for the fastball. Other than a slight dip in velocity which could be early season variance, I see no real change in how good his fastball has been. Rather, hitters are more used to those types of fastballs and they know that they can essentially ignore his other pitches. Using those off-speed pitches more can help make the fastball, and Chad Green, effective again.

You can contact Rohan on Twitter @rohanarcot20

 

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Bryan Hoch talks Yankees injuries, pitching depth, and 2009 stories http://bronxpinstripes.com/interviews/longtime-yankees-reporter-bryan-hoch-joins-the-bronx-pinstripes-show/ Mon, 15 Apr 2019 23:39:00 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66820 On Monday’s episode of The Bronx Pinstripes Show, co-host Andrew Rotondi spoke with Yankees beat reporter Bryan Hoch about the Yankees slow start, Gio Gonzalez, Aaron Boone, and more. Hoch has been the Yankees beat reporter for MLB.com since 2007, and has seen the very best and worst of this team since then. In addition to his great insight and information about the current state of the team, Hoch told some great stories from his time covering the Yanks on the […]

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On Monday’s episode of The Bronx Pinstripes Show, co-host Andrew Rotondi spoke with Yankees beat reporter Bryan Hoch about the Yankees slow start, Gio Gonzalez, Aaron Boone, and more.

Hoch has been the Yankees beat reporter for MLB.com since 2007, and has seen the very best and worst of this team since then. In addition to his great insight and information about the current state of the team, Hoch told some great stories from his time covering the Yanks on the episode.

As of right now, however, the biggest issue regarding the Yankees is obviously their injuries. Despite the fact that basically half of the team is on the Injured List, Hoch isn’t overly concerned and predicts that some of the Yankees star players will return to the lineup sooner than later.

“The Yankees have been taking a lot of hits to the mouth lately, it’s like going up against Mike Tyson in the 1980’s. But like I said, it’s not going to be like this all year, and they’ll start to get some of these guys back. I think the Gary Sanchez thing will be short term, Giancarlo Stanton will be relatively short term… you get those two guys back and things start to look a little more formidable and a little more like what you thought it was going to be.”

Hoch gave further information and injury updates on Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar, and Dellin Betances. Hicks’ injury is a bit of a mystery and his timetable is still in question. The Yankees are hopeful Severino and Betances will return, but they are weeks — probably months — away. Andujar is another issue. As Hoch says, it is a matter of how much the Yankees want Miggy’s bat in the lineup versus potentially jeopardizing next season if things don’t go well.

On the lighter side of things, Hoch told an awesome story from 2009 about former Yankee Nick Swisher and how he used to make Brett Gardner carry around a giant boom box so that the clubhouse always had music playing during the season. Listen to the entire story below:

Hoch also talked about:

  • Gio Gonzalez’s upcoming opt-out day and what his plans could be
  • What Jacoby Ellsbury‘s empty locker looked like and whether or not there was dust piling up
  • “State of the team” quotes from Aaron Boone and Aaron Judge and why Judge is the go to guy
  • The three types of “dad” managers the Yankees have had: the “cool” dad (Boone), “stern” dad (Girardi), and “good” dad (Torre)

The segment was a lot of fun to listen to but most importantly it was super informative, as Hoch is one of the smartest Yankees guys on the planet. Make sure to give it a listen here!

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What could the Yankees do to ‘turn the corner’? http://bronxpinstripes.com/featured-column/what-could-the-yankees-do-to-turn-the-corner/ Mon, 15 Apr 2019 23:01:05 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66797 When the 2019 campaign began on March 28, many were optimistic about the New York Yankees potentially repeating their successful 2018 run. But with 15 games under their belt, the Yankees have a 6-9 record which was something no one could have predicted. The Yankees have lost three straight series against teams at home, and are scheduled to face the Boston Red Sox for a two-game set on Tuesday night. Following a sweep of the Houston Astros on April 10, […]

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When the 2019 campaign began on March 28, many were optimistic about the New York Yankees potentially repeating their successful 2018 run. But with 15 games under their belt, the Yankees have a 6-9 record which was something no one could have predicted.

The Yankees have lost three straight series against teams at home, and are scheduled to face the Boston Red Sox for a two-game set on Tuesday night. Following a sweep of the Houston Astros on April 10, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he believed the Yankees were “really close to turning a corner”.

The team is currently in a position that they’re not familiar with; the 27-time World Series champions are in third place, and what was once predicted to be an AL East battle between the Yankees and Red Sox has turned into the Rays running away with the division early on.

Despite the slow start, it’s not time to panic. There is plenty of baseball left, and the Yankees will find themselves on a hot streak sooner or later. However, there are plenty of factors that have to come into play in order for the Yankees to actually ‘turn the corner’.

No More Substantial Injuries

On March 28, this was the New York Yankees Opening Day starting lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Aaron Judge RF
Giancarlo Stanton LF
Luke Voit DH
Miguel Andujar 3B
Gary Sanchez C
Greg Bird 1B
Gleyber Torres 2B
Troy Tulowitzki SS

Let’s fast-forward to April 14. This was the lineup for the series finale against the Chicago White Sox:

DJ LeMahieu 2B
Aaron Judge RF
Gleyber Torres SS
Luke Voit 1B
Clint Frazier DH
Brett Gardner CF
Gio Urshela 3B
Kyle Higashioka C
Mike Tauchman LF

The difference between March 28 and April 14 is the Yankees are missing Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, Gary Sanchez, and Troy Tulowitzki. That’s not even scratching the surface regarding the injury bug; 11 players are currently on the injured list, and most of them don’t have a definitive timetable for their return.

In a sense, the Yankees are unintentionally following the plot for Avengers: Endgame; With their fallen comrades on the injured list–in this case, Thanos would represent the IL–Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, and CC Sabathia lead their new recruits in a fight for the American League East.

The problem is, the team really can’t afford another substantial injury.

Yes, it’s easier said than done, and injuries do happen in baseball. But the Yankees are currently using tape and glue to piece together a roster that is missing their superstars.

The Rotation Has To Be Effective

The rotation should have a boost since CC Sabathia recently joined the highly-effective Masahiro Tanaka and Domingo German on April 13, but J.A. Happ and James Paxton have struggled since making their Yankee debuts. In 15 innings, Paxton is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA while Happ is 0-2 with a 8.76 ERA in 12.1 innings.

Paxton in particular seemed determined to ‘turn the corner’; following Paxton’s last start, Yankees adviser Carlos Beltran brought it to Paxton’s attention that he was tipping his curveball, which allowed runners on second base to relay the pitch to the hitter at the plate. In addition to working on his curveball mechanics, Paxton is also talking with a sports psychologist after admitting he was placing pressure on himself following his move from Seattle to New York City.

With the changes Paxton is willing to make, one can hope he and Happ will successfully assist the team in getting back in the win column.

Yankees Need To Clean Up Their Defense

In the past, the Yankees have prided themselves on having a defensively sound team. But in the early going, it appears the team has left defense behind. Through 15 games this season, the Yankees have 13 errors (.975 FPCT), ranking 24th in all of baseball.

Before we divulge any further, let’s break down which positions the errors came from on the diamond:

Like injuries, errors do happen in baseball. It’s all part of the game. However, 13 errors in 15 games is a big reason why the Yankees currently have a 6-9 record.

This team is capable of playing better defensively, and in order to start winning games, they have to not present potential scoring opportunities to the opposition.

The Bullpen Has To Be Dominant

Coming into the season, the Yankees prided themselves on having one of the most dominant bullpens on paper. Despite losing David Robertson to the Philadelphia Phillies and Dellin Betances to the injured list, the Yankees still had big names like Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Zack Britton, Jonathan Holder, Joe Harvey, and Luis Cessa.

Despite having a strong bullpen on paper, some of the relievers aren’t performing as well as they should; Chad Green has a 9.95 ERA in 6.1 innings. Jonathan Holder has a 5.19 ERA in 8.2 innings. Zack Britton has a 4.05 ERA in 6.2 innings, and Tommy Kahnle has a 3.86 ERA in 4.2 innings.

Relievers like Cessa and Harvey have been a massive bright spot for the Yankees so far, but those two alone aren’t enough to fill the void of Betances, who is now scheduled to miss six weeks with a shoulder impingement. If the relievers can’t hold a lead into the ninth inning, there’s no chance for Chapman to lock down a save; Chapman only has two saves in five appearances.

All around, the Yankees have to start performing better as a team if they want to get out of their 6-9 deficit. Despite it being early in the season, it currently appears as if the Rays are leaving the rest of the AL East behind. And if the Yankees want to have any chance of winning the AL East, they have to actually ‘turn the corner’, or they’ll have to settle for either a Wild Card spot or a postseason-less October.

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What’s behind the early season struggles for James Paxton and JA Happ? http://bronxpinstripes.com/featured-column/whats-behind-the-early-season-struggles-for-james-paxton-and-ja-happ/ Mon, 15 Apr 2019 19:00:57 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66776 Last week I wrote about how good Masahiro Tanaka has been and his next start was by far his worst of the year. So in the name of a good old-fashion reverse jinx, today I’m going to write about the early season slumps of James Paxton and J.A. Happ. With the two slated to take the mound against the Red Sox in this week’s series, now is prime time for these two veterans to identify the issue and return to […]

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Last week I wrote about how good Masahiro Tanaka has been and his next start was by far his worst of the year. So in the name of a good old-fashion reverse jinx, today I’m going to write about the early season slumps of James Paxton and J.A. Happ. With the two slated to take the mound against the Red Sox in this week’s series, now is prime time for these two veterans to identify the issue and return to their usual dominant form.

Taking a quick glance at these two pitcher’s stat lines paints a bleak picture. Paxton and Happ have ERAs of 6.00 and 8.76 respectively, with 4.41 and 6.47 FIPs to accompany them. Both have been torched by the long ball with HR/9 rates of 1.80 and 2.92, miles greater than their career averages. But beyond these baseline concerns, their early mishaps have come in very different forms. Let’s take a closer look at each pitcher to break down what is plaguing them in the early going.

James Paxton

For Paxton, the biggest issue so far has been a complete inability to fool hitters. His O-Swing% is currently at an abysmal 25.6%, nearly five full points below his career average. The attendant results have been exactly what you would expect, with a sky high walk rate of 3.60 BB/9 and high pitch counts driving him out of games early. Moreover, hitters are clearly able to lay off his chase pitches and barrel up deliveries in the zone, with a career high 38.1% Hard% and a 91.0 mph average exit velocity.

What does the underlying data say about what might be causing this inability to fool batters? For one thing, Paxton himself — with the assistance of Carlos Beltran — believes he tipped his pitches in his disastrous April 10 start against the Astros.

“They knew what was coming, so they were fouling off some pretty good pitches,” said Paxton. “I think we found something to remedy that so I’m not giving away any pitches, so that’ll help.”

But beyond tipping pitches, Paxton has used his curveball far less so far this year than he traditionally has in the past. So far, just 14.7% of his pitches have been curveballs, his only offspeed offering. Taking it’s place has been a higher usage of the cutter at 19.1%, a career high. His fastball use has also ticked upwards since last year, a surprise given the Yankees much discussed anti-fastball philosophy.

This all points to a needed shift in Paxton’s approach for his next couple outings. His career worst GB% at 35.7% and xwOBA of .329 are further evidence that something needs to actively change for his next start. If I were Larry Rothschild, my suggestion would unsurprisingly be to increase the usage of his high quality curveball. Throughout his career, Paxton has induced swings and misses and kept hitters guessing with his sweeping breaking ball. By using it less, hitters appear to be sitting on his hard stuff and having an easier time taking pitches out of the zone.

There is some evidence that his early struggles have come in part due to bad luck. His current .436 BABIP against is sky high, and suggests some balls simply aren’t bouncing his way through three starts. But there is clearly also an element of his own struggles incorporated into this number, as evidenced by his high Hard% and xwOBA as well as his very low GB%.

Paxton has clearly demonstrated throughout the past couple years that he has ace-like potential. The Yankees need to start seeing that soon, and it starts with mixing up his pitches better and showing better command of the zone to keep hitters off balance and generate more swings and misses.

J.A. Happ

Whoof. Where to begin with Happ, whose first three starts have all come against subpar competition and have all been absolutely terrible? When a player gets off to a start as bad as he has, there are usually clear indicators in the data as to why the pitcher is struggling. Interestingly, in this case, many of the usual places you’d go to give little to no indication of what’s going wrong.

His O-Swing% and Z-Contact% are sitting around his career averages, suggesting he’s doing at least a decent job of keeping hitters off balance at the plate. His Hard% is actually better than his career average thus far, and he’s not giving up significantly more fly balls than he traditionally has in the past. His strikeout and walk rates aren’t spectacular, but they’re also not terrible and not particularly far from past performances.

The only clear outlier in the data is his abysmal 2.92 HR/9 rate, which is more than 1.5 more HR/9 than his career average. Unfortunately, home runs have the potential to sink any starter, and they have very much done so thus far for Happ. Take a look at this “grooved pitch” graph courtesy of Brooks Baseball. For reference, a grooved pitch is defined as a pitch located middle-middle regardless of movement or velocity.

Nearly 10% of all of his fastballs have been grooved thus far this season. Not great! Fastballs middle-middle just don’t play in today’s league, especially when your average velocity is only is only about 91.6 mph. This is borne out in the Statcast data as well, where Happ is found to be surrendering a Barrel% of roughly 9.5%. If one out of every ten hitters is generating literally the best contact you can as an offensive player, you’re probably going to have a bad time regardless of how well you handle those other nine guys.

There is reason to be hopeful with Happ, given that most of his underlying stats are solid and it’s almost exclusively been the long ball destroying otherwise solid work. But the early season results are concerning, especially given his struggles with the long ball after coming over to the Yankees from Toronto last year. With his current stuff, it is clear Happ needs to work closer to the periphery of the zone especially with his fastball to have success this year.

Final Thoughts

Both of these guys are competitors and have proven their ability to be highly successful starters in this league. But while it’s only a small sample size, they clearly have work to do to return to their typical form and give the Yankees the type of production they need in the absence of staff ace Luis Severino.

For Paxton, he needs to become more consistent and confident in his curveball so that his plus fastball can play up as a knockout pitch as it has throughout his career. Without doing so, guys can continue to wait him out, drive up his pitch count, and choose pitches they can drive to reduce his effectiveness.

In Happ’s case, he simply has to do a better job of keeping his fastball down in the zone and limiting damage on home runs. If he continues to be plagued by the long ball, it will be frustrating for the fans and detrimental to the team’s success this year.

Both of these guys have an entire season to correct these issues, and there’s no time like the present. Here’s to hoping that the Yankees analytics team has identified these issues and they both turn in a string of quality starts beginning with their outings against the Red Sox.

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Series Recap: Yankees fall flat against White Sox http://bronxpinstripes.com/series-recap/series-recap-yankees-fall-flat-against-white-sox/ Mon, 15 Apr 2019 17:34:41 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=66768 Some home cooking coupled with a series against the Chicago White Sox sounded like a perfect recipe to get the New York Yankees back on track. The first BP Crew outing and the return of CC Sabathia did seem to lift their spirits. However, in the end, it was another series loss and marked the first time the pinstripes have lost three consecutive home series to start the season since Don Mattingly was a rookie in 1982. Yes, the injuries […]

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Some home cooking coupled with a series against the Chicago White Sox sounded like a perfect recipe to get the New York Yankees back on track. The first BP Crew outing and the return of CC Sabathia did seem to lift their spirits. However, in the end, it was another series loss and marked the first time the pinstripes have lost three consecutive home series to start the season since Don Mattingly was a rookie in 1982. Yes, the injuries are plenty but the lack of execution continues to be perplexing.

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GAME 1

Yes, the Yankees added Gary Sanchez to the injured list before the game. Yes, Dellin Betances’ return date was pushed back. Yes, the Yankees should’ve put away the White Sox anyhow. Nope, they did not. An ugly rain-shortened affair resulted in a 9-6 loss to the hapless ChiSox, who came into this contest having dropped five straight games.

WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

Somewhere over the yonder, some guy named Patrick Corbin was whiffing 11 Pittsburgh Pirates. Meanwhile, in the boogie down, J.A. Happ was getting his lunch handed to him by the pale hose. Happ couldn’t locate, left the ball up and out over the plate and couldn’t put away Chicago hitters. So far for Happ, three starts, two against the Orioles and one against the White Sox, one can’t help but wonder what he’s going to do against a mediocre team?

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During the first frame, a first-pitch 89.5 mph fastball left up to Leury Garcia, was wrapped to left-center for a leadoff double. Following two consecutive strikeouts, Happ yielded an opposite field RBI-single to left by Yonder Alonso.

In the fourth frame, Happ recorded two outs around two walks but the free passes would haunt him. However, another pitch left in the same spot to Garcia led to a two-run double to right.

It didn’t get any better in the fifth frame. Jose Abreu set the table with a single to center. The ensuing batter Alonso hammered a two-run homer to right-center. Yoan Moncada followed with a single to left and that was all for Happ. After Jonathan Holder yielded a home run to center by Eloy Jimenez, Happ’s ledger was officially complete with four frames, nine hits, six runs, two walks, and five strikeouts.

LINEUP KEEPS BATTLING

Even with a compromised lineup, the pinstripes did their fair share of smacking around Lucas Giolito. During the first inning, the offense bounced back with Aaron Judge reaching on a throwing error by shortstop Tim Anderson. Following two consecutive free passes to Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres, and a strikeout by Greg Bird, the red-hot DJ LeMahieu lined a two-run single to right to provide New York with a 2-1 advantage.

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The Yankees would double that from the bottom of the order in the second stanza. Clint Frazier walked and Gio Urshela doubled to center. An Austin Romine two-run single back up the box increased the pinstripes lead to 3-1.

A bullet sacrifice fly to left by Judge made it 4-1 Yankees.

Brett Gardner, who didn’t hit his third home run until May 29 last season, got the Yankees a run back in the fourth frame by clocking a solo shot to right off a full-count fastball from Giolito.

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Trailing in the sixth, the usual and not so usual suspects were instrumental in keeping the line moving to get the Yankees back into the game. A LeMahieu walk and Frazier sizzling single to right would chase Giolito. Facing Jose Ruiz, Urshela pulled New York back within one at 7-6 with an RBI-single to center.

PIG PEN

Again, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of these losses is you can’t pin them on the obvious injuries. The lineup mustered six runs. Happ is supposed to be a linchpin in the rotation. Holder isn’t supposed to be some Triple-A rando, nor is Chad Green, who surrendered consecutive longballs to Jimenez and James McCann in the seventh inning. These guys need to figure it out.

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GAME 2

The BP Crew was on-hand for the first outing of 2019 and like clockwork, the Yankees won 4-0 and Judge smacked a home run. Also helpful was the return (you mean guys actually come off the injured list?) of CC Sabathia.

DUBSTEP

The big man was back in the big ballpark in the Bronx. The larger than life lefty was a huge presence in pinstripes. Sabathia stymied the south siders with five scoreless frames of one-hit ball, fanning three. In the process, Sabathia became the first pitcher in major league history to throw at least five scoreless frames with one or fewer hits and zero walks in consecutive starts. In one outing, Sabathia has double the amount of 1-2-3 innings as Happ (4-2). Welcome back, big guy!

TEXAS LEAGUERS AND SAFETY SQUEEZES

Cruising into the seventh inning was old friend Ivan Nova and it was “Nova time” for the White Sox. Yet drastic times call for drastic measures and the Yankees finally broke through.

Torres set the table and chased Nova with a single to right. Facing Jace Fry, Greg Bird reached on a fielder’s choice and error by second baseman Yolmer Sanchez. Facing new reliever Ryan Burr, Clint Frazier loaded the bases with a line drive single to right.

Pinch-hitting for Mike Tauchman, Luke Voit looped an RBI-single to shallow center.

A Kyle Higoshioka sacrifice fly to right doubled the lead to 2-0. A perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Tyler Wade plated Frazier for the third run.

BULLISH PEN

It was finally a smooth and flawless outing for the bullpen. Domingo German pulled a reverse opener and fanned four in two scoreless frames. Zack Britton whiffed one in one scoreless frame. Aroldis Chapman, welcome back to the 2019 campaign, was touching triple digits on the radar gun and struck out one to finish off the White Sox.

CONNECT FOUR

Capping off the scoring for the Bronx Bombers in the eighth inning was Judge, who went oppo taco and swatted his fourth home run of the season to right, off an 0-1 slider from Burr.

GAME 3

They say momentum is only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher. Well, Masahiro Tanaka was on, until he wasn’t. Plus, the Yankees offense wasn’t anything to write home about either. This marked New York’s eighth loss after holding a lead, tied for the worst in the majors with the Kansas City Royals. It all added up to a 5-2 loss.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Starting on a positive note in the early going against Carlos Rodon were, of course, Voit and Judge. During the first frame, Judge coaxed a one-out walk and with two down Voit banged an RBI-double to right. Voit extended his on-base streak to 26 games.

In the third inning, Mike Tauchman drew a free pass and advanced to second on a Rodon wild pitch. With one down Judge plated Tauchman with an RBI-single to right, doubling the Yankees advantage to 2-0.

MASA’S MEH MATINEE

Control and not yielding the longball with runners on base had been keys to Tanaka’s early success. In his first 18.1 frames of work, this season Tanaka only allowed one home run and two bases on balls. Such was not the case on Sunday. After fanning six through the first three frames, the wheels came off in the fourth as the Chisox threw up a crooked number.

A Moncada single, Abreu double and consecutive free passes to Alonso and Jimenez set the stage for Tim Anderson. Anderson made Tanaka pay by cranking an 0-1 splitter into the right-field seats to make it 4-2 White Sox.

During the fifth frame, Tanaka allowed the White Sox to load the bases again and was lifted following a walk to Moncada. With Luis Cessa on, it could’ve been worse if not for a nice catch on the track by Judge to rob Abreu of extra bases and hold Chicago to one run on the sacrifice fly.

Tanaka’s final line was four-plus innings, five runs, three walks, and six strikeouts.

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ON DECK

At 6-9 the Yankees try on a different pair of socks as the Boston Red Sox come to town for a two-game set Tuesday evening.

Pitching probables: Chris Sale vs. James Paxton, Nathan Eovaldi vs. J.A. Happ.

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