Game # 47 -- A's (23-27) vs Yanks (28-18)

Yesterday the Yanks offense exploded for 2 hits. Can they surpass that today? Headley sits again. Aarons are split up.

A's

  1. CF: Mark Canha
  2. DH: Stephen Vogt
  3. 2B: Jed Lowrie
  4. LF: Khris Davis
  5. 1B: Yonder Alonso
  6. 3B: Ryon Healy
  7. C: Josh Phegley
  8. RF: Matt Joyce
  9. SS: Adam Rosales
  10. SP: Andrew Triggs

Yanks

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. C: Gary Sanchez
  3. DH: Matt Holliday
  4. 2B: Starlin Castro
  5. RF: Aaron Judge
  6. SS: Didi Gregorius
  7. CF: Aaron Hicks
  8. 1B: Chris Carter
  9. 3B: Ronald Torreyes
  10. SP: Michael Pineda

1946 -- With 49,917 watching, the Yanks defeat Washington 2-1 in the first night game at YS.

Game on YES.

Podcast Episode 89: Ex-Yankees Draft, Dinner with DiMaggio

EJ and Derek draft ex-Yankees to add back to the current Yankees roster. Then, EJ and Paul interview Dr. Rock Positano, author of Dinner with DiMaggio.

Sorry for the late episode this week! We'll be back Thursday night as regularly scheduled next week.

This episode is sponsored by the Yankee Stadium Watch of Original Grain Watch Co

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Game # 46 -- A's (22-26) vs Yanks (27-18)

Struggling Yanks try again to turn things around. Struggling CC will try to turn things around -- last 6 starts vs. A's, 6.26 ERA. Struggling bull pen will try to turn things around. Struggling batters will try to become hitters. Headley sits. Sanchez squats. Torreyes at 3B. Aarons back-to-back.

A's

Davis, R. CF
Canha, RF
Lowrie, 2B
Davis, K. LF
Healy, 1B
Plouffe, 3B
Pinder, DH
Phegley, C
Rosales, SS
Cotton, P

YANKS

Gardner, CF
Sanchez, C
Holliday, DH
Castro, 2B
Judge, DH
Hicks, CF
Gregorious, SS
Carter, 1B
Torreyes, 3B
Sabathia, P

Game on YES and MLBN (o-o-m).
 

 

Game # 45 -- Oakland (21-25) vs Yankees (27-17)

Another sub-.500 team. Get while ya can. In an effort to get Tanaka back on track, the Yankees are having him do something different -- throw to Romine.  That Rothschild is a genius! How will the Yankees fare without the feared Ells?

Athletics

  1. CF: Rajai Davis
  2. RF: Matt Joyce
  3. 2B: Jed Lowrie
  4. LF: Khris Davis
  5. 1B: Ryon Healy
  6. 3B: Trevor Plouffe
  7. C: Stephen Vogt
  8. DH: Mark Canha
  9. SS: Adam Rosales
  10. SP: Sean Manaea

Yankees

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. CF: Aaron Hicks
  3. DH: Matt Holliday
  4. 2B: Starlin Castro
  5. RF: Aaron Judge
  6. SS: Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B: Chase Headley
  8. 1B: Chris Carter
  9. C: Austin Romine
  10. SP: Masahiro Tanaka

2001 -- with 8Ks against the Indians, Clemens moved into 5th place on the all-time Yankees K-List.

Game on YES.

Game # 45 -- There is no Game # 45

In what will undoubtedly be a huge disappointment for sometimes Yankee 1B Chris Carter, this afternoon's game has been PPD. It has been re-scheduled for Sept 25th. Considering that KC has been struggling lately this is a bad time to postpone this game. On the other hand, they may have traded off their best players by then.

Rain can be seen on the Weather Channel.

Chat at y'all Friday night. (Or maybe below.)

Game # 44 -- KC (19-26) -- Yankees (26-17)

Yankees have been in a correction mode. Since their 21-9 start they are 5-8. While such slumps are to be expected, going 4-4 vs KC and TB is not a good sign. Tonight Sevy will try to rebound and get the Yanks started in the right direction. Like Gardner before him, Hicks homers and then sits. Sanchez is squatting.

KC

Escobar, SS
Moustakas, 3B
Cain, CF
Hosmer, 1B
Perez, C
Bonifacio, RF
Moss, DH
Meriifield, 2B
Gordon, LF
Hammel, P

YANKEES

Gardner, LF
Sanchez, C
Holliday, DH
Castro, 2B
Judge, RF
Ellsbury, CF
Headley, 3B
Gregoious, SS
Carter, 1B
Severino, P

1936 -- Tony Lazzeri his 2 GSs and 11 RBIs in one game. (Hey, someone ready to duplicate that feat tonight?)

Game is on YES and MLBN (oom)

Is Chase Headley's job in jeopardy?

After a blissful start to the season, the familiar grumbling about Chase Headley's hitting is back in full force. When he's scuffled earlier in his career with the Yankees, there weren't any immediate options to replace him, so the Yankees kept trotting him out there. To his credit, the switch-hitter's full season performances have been respectable in pinstripes even though a couple of cold streaks have marred them. This year, though, the Yankees may not wait for Headley's offensive numbers to normalize over a full year. Gleyber Torres, recently promoted to Triple-A and the team's top prospect, is expected to be a future star and could prove to be an upgrade at the hot corner this season. Though Torres' primary position is shortstop, he's gotten plenty of work at second and third base, so he might become the solution to Headley's woes, should they continue.

At the end of the day on April 19th, Headley was sitting pretty. He sported a .396/.500/.646 (216 wRC+) batting line with 3 home runs and 3 stolen bases through 58 plate appearances. This was a thrilling start, especially after his putrid beginning to 2016, when he didn't have an extra base hit until May 12th. Nobody was expecting the third baseman to continue his torrid start, but it appeared that Headley was finally going to put together an above average offensive campaign in pinstripes. Alas, just about any player is capable of putting together a hot 58 trips to the plate. Headley's full season batting line is now down to .237/.310/.382 (89 wRC+). It's been quite the slump for the switch-hitting 33 year-old, and perhaps especially daunting for him assuming he's aware that the organization bumped Torres to Scranton.

Source: Fangraphs

Source: Fangraphs

To my knowledge, there aren't any nicks or bruises nagging Headley that would be explain his slump. His last 110 plate appearances, since the April 19th cutoff I had previously mentioned, have been ugly: .163/.209/.260 (22 wRC+). He's been striking out a ton (30%) and rarely walking (4.5%). In fact, Headley hasn't drawn a base on balls since May 3rd. For a guy with nearly a 10% career walk rate, that's stunning.

The problem appears to be that following his hot start, opposing pitchers started throwing the ball outside of the zone more often. Meanwhile, Headley began to chase bad pitches at a higher clip as time has passed this season. The combination of those two trends is not a recipe for success, and certainly would explain why he's going down on strikes at a higher rate while being unable to reach via walk. His Zone% is starting to tick back up again, but his chase rate is also continuing to rise.

Source: Fangraphs

Source: Fangraphs

On a positive note, Headley's quality of contact has remained pretty steady throughout the year. His exit velocities haven't wavered much since his hot start, though there haven't been nearly as many balls in play because of his plate discipline issues.

Source: Baseball Savant

Source: Baseball Savant

Headley never has and never will light up the exit velocity leaderboards like teammate Aaron Judge, but at least he hasn't exhibited a drop in hard contact during his slump. His plate discipline has been worrisome, but I'd be even more concerned if it was in tow with poor contact. If Headley can get back to his career norms with walks and strikeouts, he should be able to get back to the level of play we've grown accustomed to. No, he won't surge back to the level he was at to start the year, but he's been roughly a league average hitter for much of his career. That seems like a reasonable expectation.

Since his acquisition, Headley's been an easy scapegoat when the offense struggles. He doesn't have a gorgeous swing, so when things are going badly, it looks particularly ugly for him. That said, he's been a bastion of consistency at the plate in the prior two seasons. He posted a 92 wRC+ in both 2015 and 2016, his first two full seasons in the Bronx. Right now, Headley is down to an 89 wRC+ on the season (though admittedly, it feels so much lower). As hinted at before, in no way do I think Headley is done. After all, he turned it around last year after his hideous start and was a solid contributor.  I don't see why he can't be a near league average bat the rest of the season. ZiPS (89 wRC+ RoS) and Steamer (95 wRC+ RoS) seem to concur with my sentiment. Then again, there's a potential upgrade approximately 125 miles west: Gleyber Torres.

Torres, 20, tore up Double-A before his recent bump to Triple-A. He's undoubtedly the future centerpiece of the Yankees infield, whether it's at second, third, or shortstop. Given Headley's struggles, his lack of long-term future with the club, and Torres starting to force the issue, it appears that third base is the most likely spot at the moment.

As Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues noted yesterday, the Yankees have proven that they aren't afraid to bench or trade highly paid players when a prospect deserves a chance. Axisa specifically pointed out two examples from last summer: Gary Sanchez stealing time from Brian McCann and Tyler Austin bumping Mark Teixeira. In the offseason, McCann was traded with two years remaining on his contract (the Yankees are on the hook for a good chunk of that) and Teixeira retired. Perhaps McCann is the model to follow this year with Headley? It would make a lot of sense, provided that Headley doesn't snap out of his slump and Torres continues his hot hitting in the International League. Heck, even if Headley gets his ducks in a row, Torres might be too good to ignore. It's not like McCann was a drag on the Yankees last year when he was eschewed.

The question is: when is the appropriate time to replace Headley with Torres? That leads to a handful of other questions for the front office to answer: Does Torres, the team's top prospect, need a month or two in Triple-A, or just a few weeks? How much patience should the organization have with Headley? Would there be any trade interest in Headley? As long as Torres plays well in the minors and Headley falters, the pressure will mount to make a change. It's far more likely than not that Headley is still a solid-average big league player, but there's a decent chance that Torres is already better than that (and is projected to be a future star). If that's the case, it's difficult to argue against giving Torres a chance.

Game 43 Recap: Montgomery's strong start wasted in 6-2 loss to Royals

Last week, Jordan Montgomery and Danny Duffy faced off in Kansas City. Duffy overpowered the Yankees en route to a 5-1 Royals win. Tonight, the story would have been that Montgomery outpitched Duffy had the bullpen held on. Instead, the Yankees lost 6-2. Here's how:

Montgomery dominates

It was a pleasure to watch Montgomery work through the Kansas City lineup tonight. He entered the seventh inning having allowed only one hit, to Whit Merrifield in the third frame. Walks, which have plagued Montgomery this season, were not an issue. Merrifield was the only baserunner Montgomery allowed until his final inning of work.

The lefty's only mistake was a fastball that got a bit too much of the plate that Lorenzo Cain launched into the left field seats, cutting the Yankees lead at the time to 2-1. That occurred with one out in the seventh. Montgomery would retire one more batter before relinquishing the ball to manager Joe Girardi, who summoned Adam Warren. In all: Montgomery threw 6.2 innings, allowed one run on two hits, struck out six, and didn't walk a batter. A very good outing, indeed.

Warren falters

Clinging to a 2-1 lead, Girardi entrusted Warren to get the final out of the seventh. He got that final out...but not before the Royals took a 3-2 lead. Salvador Perez singled to greet Warren and Jorge Bonifacio followed up with a two-run homer to right.

This is where the Aroldis Chapman injury really hurts. We probably would have seen Dellin Betances in that situation to finish the frame and then work the eighth. Alas.

Duffy baffles the offense again

Off seven shutout innings last week against the Yankees, Duffy pitched well again tonight. I guess there was some improvement, as the Yankees scored two runs against the Royals' southpaw. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter were responsible for each run on solo home runs.

The Yankees mustered two separate threats against Duffy, both shortly after Hicks' and Carter's solo home runs. When Hicks homered in the fourth, the Yankees put runners on first and second with two outs, but Didi Gregorius popped up to end the inning. After Carter's dinger, the offense surmised a two out rally to load the bases, but Starlin Castro flew out to left.

Other notes:

  • The Royals plated their fourth run on a Whit Merrifield home run off Jonathan Holder in the eighth. The fifth and sixth runs came on a Mike Moustakas blast to right against Chasen Shreve. Not a banner night for the bullpen, that's for sure.
  • Both teams scored all of their runs via home runs tonight.
  • Tomorrow is another 7:05pm game against Kansas City. Luis Severino takes on Jason Hammel.

Game # 43 -- Royals (18-26) vs Yanks (26-16)

Gardy sits, apparently yesterday's HR wasn't enough. I think Girardi's afraid he'll catch Judge. Sanchez sits -- easier than squatting.

Royals

  1. SS: Alcides Escobar
  2. 3B: Mike Moustakas
  3. CF: Lorenzo Cain
  4. 1B: Eric Hosmer
  5. DH: Salvador Perez
  6. LF: Jorge Bonifacio
  7. RF: Jorge Soler
  8. 2B: Whit Merrifield
  9. C: Drew Butera
  10. SP: Danny Duffy

Yankees

  1. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF: Aaron Hicks
  3. DH: Matt Holliday
  4. 2B: Starlin Castro
  5. RF: Aaron Judge
  6. SS: Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B: Chase Headley
  8. C: Austin Romine
  9. 1B: Chris Carter
  10. SP: Jordan Montgomery

Game on YES.