Tanaka Update: Return To Sim Game City

As the Yankees drift further and further away from truly needing him to come back this season, Masahiro Tanaka presses forward on his rehab trail.  He returned to simulated game action yesterday, throwing a 3-inning, 45-pitch session prior to last night’s game.  Chad Jennings has the full story, but the long and short of it is that Tanaka said he felt better than he did in his last sim start and Joe and the coaching staff thought he looked a lot better.

The next step now is to see how his arm feels and responds to another between-start bullpen and then it sounds like he’ll get another sim start on Sunday.  After that, there’s a chance he could return to real game action by the end of next week.  That’s enough time for 2, maybe 3 starts depending on how Joe manages his rotation down the stretch.  Even not fully stretched out, 2-3 games of Tanaka is better than no Tanaka.  …

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Game 142 Recap: Rays 4 Yanks 3

Jeter K vs TB

Courtesy of Getty Images

If the Yankees were going to make even the most token of attempts to hang around in the Wild Card race, they were going to have to stop losing close games.  They opened a 3-game series against the Rays last night, and naturally they did exactly that, falling 4-3 thanks to some more self-inflicted offensive wounds.

Before we get to those, let’s talk about Hiroki Kuroda‘s night.  It started with a strikeout of the side in the top of the 1st and the appearance that he had his A-game going.  Then the top of the 2nd started and all that went out the window.  James Loney homered to lead off the inning to put the Rays out front.  In the 3rd they strung 4 singles together in a 5-batter span to put 2 more on the board and hit 3 straight with 1 out in the 4th to make it 4-0 and end Kuroda’s night.  Whatever command he had in the 1st disappeared after that inning.  …

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Game 142: Archer v. Kuroda

As per Chad Jennings, Brett Gardner is out with an abdominal strain and Martin Prado continues to deal with hamstring issues.

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Ben Zobrist, 2B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
David DeJesus, DH Derek Jeter, SS
Evan Longoria, 3B Brian McCann, C
James Loney, 1B Carlos Beltran, DH
Wil Myers, RF Mark Teixeira, 1B
Matt Joyce, LF Chase Headley, 3B
Yunel Escobar, SS Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Kevin Kiermaier, CF Stephen Drew, 2B
Ryan Hanigan, C Chris Young, LF
Chris Archer, SP Hiroki Kuroda, SP
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A Second Audition For John Ryan Murphy


Courtesy of the AP

J.R. Murphy was the breakout star of the Yankee farm system in 2013.  He tore it up with the bat and glove in Double-A and Triple-A and earned himself a September call up.  Earlier this season, he returned to the show as John Ryan Murphy, parlaying last year’s success into another call up to replace the injured Francisco Cervelli.  Murphy impressed coaches and teammates alike with his strong all-around skill set, showing good natural hitting ability and advanced defensive and game management tactics for a 22-year-old catcher.  He had a .407/.429/.556 slash line in his first 11 games.

Murphy legitimized himself as a Major League catching prospect with that hot start to his 2014 season, and when the eventual regression at the plate came (7-36 with 11 K in his next 13 games), it was an expected and understandable decision to send him back down to Triple-A and let Cervelli re-assume his regular backup duties.  Interestingly enough, Murphy didn’t start raking again upon his return to SWB.  …

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Has Teixeira finally learned to beat the shift?

There is no sugar-coating the fact that Mark Teixeira has had a disappointing season, as he’s battled injuries all year while producing career-worst numbers across the board.

His struggles have become even more acute over the past month, with .602 OPS since August 1 that ranks among the worst in the majors. Prior to August his OPS was a respectable .790 –- certainly not MVP-caliber awesome, but also not replacement-level awful.

However, there is perhaps one positive trend that has emerged from this most recent slump by Teixeira: it appears that he may have finally learned how to beat the shift.

[Note: Since the majority of the shifts that Teixeira sees come from when he is batting from the left side and to simplify the analysis here, I’m going to focus on just those at-bats.]

Teixeira’s frustrations with the shift have been well-documented, and have undoubtedly contributed to his rapidly declining batting average since joining the Yankees.

The first four months of this season followed a familiar script as Teixeira routinely pounded the ball into the ground towards the right side, directly into the shifted defense.…

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2015 Yankee Schedule Released

Today’s a scheduled off-day and this season is basically over anyway, so why not get all psyched up about next year?  MLB released the full 2015 schedule today and here, in no particular order, are the Yankee-related highlights.

– The Yankees open on Monday, April 6th at The Stadium against the Blue Jays.  They play their first 6 at home against the Jays and Red Sox before heading off on a 10-game road trip in the second week of the season.

– The NL East is the interleague divisional opponent this year and that means more Subway Series.  The Mets will come to town for 3 from April 24th-26th and the Yanks go to Citi Field for 3 more on September 18th-20th.

– The All-Star Game takes place on Tuesday, July 14th in Cincinnati.

– The Yanks get 2 10-game homestands within a 4-week stretch from August 17th-September 13th.  That’s pretty sweet.

– The longest road trip of the year is a 9-game/10-day one in mid-May.  …

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Prospect Stock Watch: August/September 2014

Jaron Long 2014

Coach’s kid. Courtesy of MiLB.com

It’s a bit belated, but I couldn’t let the Minor League seasons end without getting a final monthly stock watch post up.  The second half of the season felt much better than the first, with guys like Aaron Judge and Rob Refsnyder continuing their hot hitting from early and guys like ManBan, Tyler Austin, Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez stepping up in the second half.  For the final time in 2014, here are the prospects who did the most to help and hurt themselves in the final month plus of the season.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre:

Stock Up- Tyler Webb

Webb capped off a very good year that saw him pitch at 3 different levels by settling into the SWB bullpen after being promoted in mid-August and being one of the first names off Brian Cashman’s lips when discussing possible lefty replacements for the departed Matt Thornton.  Webb’s August performance in Triple-A was uneven, with a few clunkers thrown in to juice his ERA up to 4.85.  …

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Quick Hit: Pineda Can’t Buy Run Support Right Now

Michael Pineda has made 9 starts this year.  He’s pitched exactly 50 innings in those 9 starts and allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in those 50 innings.  His consistency in limiting opposing lineups to 2 runs or fewer was noted by Katie earlier this morning, and his overall performance has re-inspired hope that he can become a strong #2 starter at the top of future rotations.

The only problem with Pineda’s performance this season, and it’s not even his problem really, is that it hasn’t led to very many Yankee victories.  Pineda has a 3-4 record and the team is 3-6 in his starts, mainly because the offense refuses to score runs for him.  In the 50 innings he’s pitched, the Yankees have scored 16 runs.  That number is bad enough as a standalone, but when you consider that 10 of them have come in 2 games and none have been scored in the last 2 it gets even worse.  …

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Yankeemetrics: Sept. 5-7 (Royals)

This pretty much sums up the Royals series. (Photo credit: Star-Ledger)

This pretty much sums up the Royals series. (Photo credit: Star-Ledger)

No offense, Yankees stink – Part I
The Yankees wasted another brilliant start by Michael Pineda, losing 1-0 to the Royals in the series opener on Friday night.

It was the first time ever that the Yankees lost a 1-0 game at Yankee Stadium against the Royals. They had done so previously three times in Kansas City (twice in 1972 and in 2010).

Pineda is the first Yankee pitcher to lose a game despite at least seven innings pitched, no earned runs and three-or-fewer baserunners allowed since George Pipgras on August 2, 1931 in a 1-0 loss at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. Before Pineda, no Yankee pitcher had suffered a defeat like that at Yankee Stadium (old or new).

Pineda has now allowed no more than two runs in each of his nine starts this season, which matches Art Ditmar (1959) for the longest such streak at any point in a season by a Yankee pitcher over the last 100 years.…

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