Exit Tanaka, Enter Phelps?

Phelps vs TOR

With Masahiro Tanaka on the DL, the pressure on the rest of the rotation has skyrocketed. It is crazy to think that David Phelps now has the second-most starts this season with the team of any Yankee in the current rotation. That would be fine if he was a consistent pitcher who could give the Yankees length and league-average-or-better run prevention on a regular basis.

The problem is that Phelps has been one of the more frustrating Yankee pitchers to watch this season. Just when you think he’s about ready to break out (2 runs allowed over 12 innings on May 17 and 22), he throws another clunker (3 straight outings of 5-plus runs from May 27-June 7).

Perhaps his latest stretch of solid pitching — 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in his last five starts — means that he has finally turned the corner and will be a reliable arm in the rotation for the rest of the season.…

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Game 90: Paging the MASH Unit

For those of you who have yet to panic, Masahiro Tanaka is heading back to New York for an MRI. This is not all doom and gloom, as it is apparently related to his forearm, and not his elbow or shoulder. It’s not good, to be sure – but it’s … less bad. Well, possibly less bad, as Bob Klapisch points out that similar soreness in Matt Harvey‘s forearm was a precursor to his UCL tear.

In other less bad news, Brett Gardner is out of tonight’s lineup due to an abdominal strain. And I say “less bad,” because the initial concern was that it may have been a hernia.

If someone could go ahead and bubble-wrap Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, and Brandon McCarthy prior to tonight’s game, that would be great. The All-Star break and the precious off-days therein cannot come soon enough…

New York Yankees Cleveland Indians
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Jason Kipnis, 2B
Derek Jeter, DH Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Brian McCann, C Michael Brantley, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B Carlos Santana, 1B
Brian Roberts, 2B Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF Nick Swisher, DH
Zoilo Almonte, LF David Murphy, RF
Zelous Wheeler, 3B Yan Gomes, C
Brendan Ryan, SS Chris Dickerson, LF
Brandon McCarthy, SP Josh Tomlin, SP


Beltran was a late scratch – he took a foul ball to the face.…

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Quick hit: Tanaka to the DL

Joe Girardi just announced that Masahiro Tanaka will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com: “Tanaka had an MRI, results will be evaluated by team physician Christopher Ahmad. He complained of soreness in elbow.”

The complaints came after last night’s start in Cleveland.

Zoilo Almonte has been called up from Triple-A Scranton and no starter has been named for Sunday’s game which would have been Tanaka’s next turn in the rotation.

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UPDATED: Tanaka is heading back to NY for an MRI

Say it with me now:


The news of Masahiro Tanaka‘s MRI first came from George King of the New York Post.

After the game, Tanaka said he “didn’t feel that bad” and thought location was his bigger issue.
“I think a lot of it had to do with command of my pitches,’’ he said. “I feel a lot of my pitches were right down the middle and pretty easy for the batters to hit.’’


But on Wednesday there was enough concern for the Yankees to send the 25-year-old for the test.

So now, we will hold our collective breath and wait for news that nothing is wrong and we’re all freaking out for no reason. Right?!

UPDATE 4:10 P.M.: Brian McCann told reporters that Tanaka seemed fine last night and that he (Tanaka) was just having a bad night. It has also been reported that the issue is in Tanaka’s forearm which is better than his elbow or shoulder.…

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The Real Brandon McCarthy

McCarthy large

The newest Yankee makes his debut tonight, with Brandon McCarthy on the mound for his first-ever start in “slimming” pinstripes (yeah, I know its a road game, so he’ll be in road grays, but you get the idea).

A cursory glance at his 2014 season stats makes you wonder why Brian Cashman would ever trade for McCarthy, who is 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts and was leading the NL in hits and earned runs allowed before moving to the junior circuit.

However, a deeper look at his repertoire and peripherals reveal a pitcher that is an upgrade at the back of the rotation with some upside to help the Yankees make a real push for the playoffs this season.

The Good
In general, pitchers can directly impact two things (ignoring defense and ballparks): walks and strikeouts. Just looking at these elements he can control, McCarthy is having one of the best seasons of his career.

McCarthy’s strikeout rate (20.0%) is a career-best, and his walk rate (4.3%) ranks seventh among all MLB pitchers this season.…

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10 Random Thoughts On The Wednesday Before The All-Star Break

1. Happy Anniversary to Derek Jeter who collected hit #3,000 on this day in 2011. I can’t believe it has been three years since that day. I also still can’t believe Jeter hit a home run. Well, no, I can believe it because he’s Derek Jeter and he likes doing things like that.

2. This year’s team is just so boring. Even Masahiro Tanaka is starting to bore me now and that makes me very sad. The All-Star break is coming up at the perfect time because I think we all need a break; players and fans alike.

3. I ordered a bunch of old Baseball Prospectus annuals (2000, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010) and it’s interesting to see what the projections were at the time. The 2006 cover is especially hilarious because of the descriptions they have for certain players. For instance, Johnny Damon is “overrated and overpaid” and while his average in 2006 was down from the previous season, he still finished with a .285/.359/.482/.841 line and hit 24 home runs which isn’t bad at all.…

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Tanaka out of whacka

Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps our expectations were too high. There were all kinds of predictions about what kind of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka would be once the Yankees pulled the trigger and signed the Japanese ace. Certainly, Brian Cashman tried to temper expectations by insisting he signed a Number 3 starter. But then Tanaka was lights out for his first fourteen starts and was 11-1. And expectations suddenly turned to the belief he would win every time he pitched.

Instead, Tanaka has lost three of his last four and fans are left with an expression of watching a fireworks display with no big finale. Naturally, not all of those losses were his fault. If you give up only two or three runs, you should have a reasonable chance to win and the Yankees’ offense wasn’t there for him. But the last two games have been concerning as the hits are starting to pile up and the strikeouts are trending down.

In Tanaka’s last two starts, he has given up more earned runs than he has recorded strikeouts.…

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Game 89: TANAK! v. Bauer

Random fact of the day:

There are two teams with a .500 or better record and a negative run differential – the Pittsburgh Pirates (47-42, -3) and, of course, the Yankees (45-43, -30). However, there are no teams at or below .500 and a positive run differential; the Blue Jays, at 47-44 (+23) come the closest.

New York Yankees Cleveland Indians
Brett Gardner, LF Jason Kipnis, 2B
Derek Jeter, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Michael Brantley, CF
Mark Teixeira, DH Carlos Santana, DH
Brian McCann, C Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Brian Roberts, 2B Nick Swisher, 1B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF David Murphy, RF
Kelly Johnson, 1B Yan Gomes, C
Zelous Wheeler, 3B Chris Dickerson, LF
Masahiro Tanaka, SP Trevor Bauer, SP
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