Category: News

Sonny Gray Moved to Bullpen; Lance Lynn to Start Monday

After imploding yet again Wednesday by allowing seven earned runs in just 2.2 innings to the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees have seen enough of Sonny Gray in the starting rotation. General manager Brian Cashman announced on a WFAN appearance that Gray would move to the bullpen and newly-acquired right-hander Lance Lynn will start Monday.

Lynn will be on normal rest since he came in as long-relief for Gray, throwing 71 pitches over 4⅓ innings. He allowed five hits but did not surrender a run. Gray told reporters at Fenway Park today that he would be available on Saturday.

“At the end of the day, I want them to do whatever is best to help us win, whatever that may be,” Gray said after the game Wednesday. “Whatever happens, if I get the ball in five days, then I’m going to take it and I’m going to go compete, and I’m going to do my best and I’m going to try to put us in a good position to win the game. But if not, then I’m going to be right there doing whatever I’m called upon [to do].”

Gray hasn’t had the best experience in pinstripes since being acquired at the 2017 Trade Deadline in exchange for Dustin Fowler, James Kaprielian and Jorge Mateo. In 32 starts, he has a 4.85 ERA and showed few signs of returning to the All-Star form he had in 2015.

Lynn came to the Yankees the day before the 2018 Trade Deadline in exchange for Tyler Austin and Luis Rijo. He has a 3.97 ERA over his last 11 games, which is a clear upgrade over Gray’s 5.56 mark on the season.

Mets-Yankees Finale Postponed to August 13

Another rainout means another off-day lost 🙄

Despite clear skies in the afternoon, ESPN’s 8:05 p.m. EDT start time for Sunday Night Baseball doomed the Yankees to a rainout instead of Sunday night’s series finale in the Bronx.

As the headline references, the game will be made up on August 13. That lands in the middle of a Yankees homestand, conveniently enough. It will be sandwiched between a four-game set with Texas and a three-game set with Tampa Bay. Unfortunately for the Yankees, it means they will play 27 games in 28 days from tomorrow through August 19. They will have just one off-day in that span on July 30.

This marks the second time this season that the Yankees have missed a National League East team’s ace because of rain, having missed the Nationals’ Max Scherzer in June. Barring some miracle, we won’t see Jacob deGrom at Yankee Stadium until his introductory press conference (I’m only half-kidding).

The Yankees will keep their pitching rotation mostly intact going forward. Luis Severino had already flown ahead of the team to Tampa Bay and will make his regularly scheduled start Monday. Masahiro Tanaka, who was scheduled to start tonight, will start Tuesday instead. Luis Cessa and Sonny Gray will also pitch Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, as originally scheduled. CC Sabathia, who was supposed to start Tuesday, will be moved to Friday.

Game 98: Tanaka Time on a Soggy Sunday

It’s pouring rain in the Bronx, and the Yankees and Mets will aim to finish the Subway Series tonight on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. If the game started at 1 p.m. it would have avoided the rain, but here we are.

Masahiro Tanaka will make his third start since coming off of the disabled list. He has given up five earned runs in 10⅔ innings in two starts against Baltimore and Cleveland. That is good for a 4.22 ERA, which is actually below his full season ERA of 4.54. Tanaka faced the Mets on June 8 in Flushing, which was the night he strained both hamstrings scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by Aaron Judge. Overall, he is 1-2 with a 3.08 ERA in four career starts against the Mets.

His counterpart is the same as that ill-fated June 8 meeting in Flushing: Jacob deGrom. deGrom has been the best starting pitcher in the National League if you’re a believer in Fangraphs’ version of WAR (4.4). His 1.68 ERA leads all of baseball, and has only allowed more than two earned runs four times out of 19 starts. He allowed three runs (with only two earned) against the Yankees when Brett Gardner’s eighth-inning home run proved to be the difference on June 8. In his two career starts at Yankee Stadium, deGrom has a 8.03 ERA.

Mets Lineup:

  1. Brandon Nimmo – RF
  2. Asdrúbal Cabrera – DH
  3. Wilmer Flores – 1B
  4. Michael Conforto – LF
  5. José Bautista – 3B
  6. Devin Mesoraco – C
  7. Amed Rosario – SS
  8. Matt den Dekker – CF
  9. José Reyes – 2B

Game 97: Second-Half Sonny Aims for Rebound

Still not making any Sonny weather jokes until Gray is good.

After leaving 14 men on base last night in a frustrating loss to the last-place Mets, the Yankees call on Sonny Gray in a Saturday matinee from the Bronx.

Gray has disappointed this season, plain and simple. His 5.46 ERA is the second-worst on the Yankees’ staff, but his last start against the Orioles before the All-Star break showed encouraging signs. He threw mostly nothing but sinkers and curveballs, and that simplified approach seemed to be way more effective. Yes, it was six scoreless innings against the worst team in the league but he just looked like a different guy out there.

His opponent will be Steven Matz, who faced the Yankees on June 9 in the first installment of the Subway Series. He gave up three earned runs on five hits in six innings in that game, but received a no-decision as the Yankees eventually won 4-to-3. Overall, he has a solid 3.38 ERA though his FIP is considerably higher at 4.82.

Gary Sánchez has swapped to be the designated hitter today. Brett Gardner sits, while Aaron Hicks heads to the leadoff spot. Brandon Drury is in at second base, and Austin Romine does the catching for Gray.

Pre-Game Notes:

  • Domingo Acevedo, who was recalled from Double-A Trenton as a bullpen reinforcement, told the story of how he was given the news of his call-up. A knock on the door came from his manager and pitching coach, and his first thought was that he had done something wrong. However, once given the news, he became emotional and hugged his pitching coach. He called his mother, who also thought something was wrong. Once she was told the news, they both cried on the phone. Now, he’s in a pinstriped No. 70 jersey in the Bronx.
  • Gleyber Torres should begin his rehab assignment quite soon in Tampa. He’s supposed to re-join the team Wednesday in St. Petersburg.
  • Tim Healey of Newsday reported that soon-to-be-ex-Mets closer Jeurys Familia did not have a jersey in his locker so it’s likely that he’s traded before the game ends.

Mets Lineup:

  1. Brandon Nimmo – RF
  2. Asdrúbal Cabrera – DH
  3. Wilmer Flores – 1B
  4. Michael Conforto – LF
  5. José Bautista – 3B
  6. Kevin Plawecki – C
  7. Amed Rosario – SS
  8. Matt den Dekker – CF
  9. José Reyes – 2B

Four (Could Be Five) Yankees Named to All-Star Team

The Yankees will have four representatives on the American League squad for this year’s All-Star Game in Washington on July 17.

They are:

  • RF Aaron Judge (starting)
  • LHP Aroldis Chapman
  • RHP Luis Severino
  • 2B Gleyber Torres

Each of the Yankees voted in as a reserve was selected by the player vote.

Giancarlo Stanton is eligible to be voted in as part of the “Final Vote” campaign. The Yankees have partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers in an attempt to get Stanton and breakout infielder Max Muncy voted as the National League final vote candidate.

Game 62: Two-Game Sweep in Sight

Can Sonny figure it out at Yankee Stadium?

Sonny Gray gets the ball as he looks to pitch the Yankees to a win in a third straight start, while the team also looks to sweep the visiting Washington Nationals quickly out of town.

Gray’s 2018 has been, well, weird. In an equal sample size (6 starts), he has been an ace on the road (2.83 ERA, .578 OPS) and just lost at Yankee Stadium (7.22 ERA, .914 OPS). He got knocked around in his last start in the Bronx, allowing the Los Angeles Angels to hang five runs on seven hits in 3⅔ innings on May 26. Since then, however, Gray has allowed just one run in 14 innings while striking out 14 batters. The 28-year-old received an unfair no-decision in his last start June 6 against the Toronto Blue Jays, where he tossed eight innings of shutout ball. The Yankees won that game, but not until a three-run 13th inning when Gray was long gone. He hopes to continue that trend so that people will stop talking about this outrageous statistical split.

The Nationals had to make a roster move to recall tonight’s starter, Erick Fedde, from their Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse. Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the team’s No. 4 prospect, Fedde has “potential as a mid-rotation starter”. His Triple-A statistics don’t show that however, where he has a 4.76 ERA in 11 starts for the Chiefs. He made one spot-start for the Nationals on May 23, picking up a loss against the San Diego Padres allowing three runs in 5⅔ innings.

Gary Sánchez continues to sit out as part of a campaign by Aaron Boone to rest the struggling backstop. “I just felt like it’s a chance to give him essentially three days to freshen him up a little bit, get some good days of recovery and work and then have back at it,” Boone said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Austin Romine is slashing .410/.467/.821 in 39 at-bats since April 30 so Boone has no issue giving Sánchez all the time he needs. Miguel Andújar returns to the lineup after a night off to allow Neil Walker into the lineup against Tanner Roark. Greg Bird remains in the lineup, but loses his No. 3 slot in the lineup to Didi Gregorius. Bird, who has struggled (1-for-18 since June 6), drops down to the No. 7 spot.

Washington Nationals Lineup

  1. Adam Eaton – RF
  2. Trea Turner – SS
  3. Bryce Harper – CF
  4. Anthony Rendon – 3B
  5. Daniel Murphy – DH
  6. Matt Adams – 1B
  7. Juan Soto – LF
  8. Wilmer Difo – 2B
  9. Spencer Kieboom – C
    Erick Fedde – RHP

Jonathan Loáisiga To Be Promoted, Pitch Friday

With the injury to Masahiro Tanaka requiring a 10-day disabled list stint that could be much longer than that, the Yankees have decided to turn to an internal option to take his rotation spot: No. 12 prospect Jonathan Loáisiga. Manager Aaron Boone announced Loáisiga would start Thursday in a news conference prior to Tuesday’s game, but corrected himself postgame to say his debut would be Friday.

With the timetable for Tanaka’s return uncertain, the Yankees opted to go with one of the better arms so far in their minor league system this year in Loáisiga. Though he has not appeared above Double-A, the 23-year-old has demonstrated impressive control through 10 starts in the minors. In 45 innings, he has walked just four batters compared to 58 strikeouts. His 4.32 ERA in the Double-A Eastern League was inflated by his most recent outing, where he allowed four runs in 2+ innings because he reached a 50-pitch limit imposed in anticipation of him starting Friday.

“We feel like Loáisiga coming up in a spot situation where we may only need him for a start — two or three depending on Tanaka — I certainly feel good about the decision to bring Jonathan up,” Boone said. “I think he has a chance to come in, because of his stuff and the way he pounds the strike zone, I don’t think he’ll be overwhelmed by all of it. I think it’s a sound decision.”

Loáisiga was picked up by the Yankees at a tryout camp once he was released from his contract with the San Francisco Giants. He signed in February 2016, but made it through one start at Low-A before requiring Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He recovered in time to make 11 starts in 2017, and impressed enough there and in instructional league to land a spot on the 40-man roster after the season.

His scouting report, per MLB Pipeline:

While Loáisiga is small and skinny, he has surprising power to his three-pitch repertoire. His quick arm repeatedly generates 93-96 mph fastballs that top out at 98 with life down in the strike zone. His low-80s curveball features a high spin rate and his upper-80s change-up has nice fade, albeit with a bit too much velocity.

Loáisiga has a clean delivery that he repeats well, allowing him to work the bottom of the strike zone and issue just three walks in 32⅔ innings last season. His stuff and control give him a ceiling of a mid-rotation starter, though his size and health history are concerns.

The Yankees passed over a veteran with MLB experience, David Hale, and a heralded top prospect, Justus Sheffield, in order to tap Loáisiga for this start. They likely did not want to risk losing Hale to free agency again as he is out of options, and they do not want to start Sheffield’s service clock until they are confident that he won’t be returned to the minors again.