Category: Pregame

ALDS Game One: Battle of the Lefties

With the wildcard firmly in the rearview mirror, the Yankees turn their focus to their opponent in the best of five American League division series: the Boston Red Sox.

Two lefties with track records of mowing down their respective opponents tonight are set to battle in game one from Fenway Park. J.A. Happ, who came to the Yankees via trade, has been dominant since putting on the pinstripes and has always pitched well in Boston. Since joining the Yankees, Happ has gotten the win in seven of 11 starts, and does not have a single loss (I know record doesn’t matter, but that shows how good he is). He also owns a stingy 2.69 ERA in 63⅔ innings. He’s got a 5-2 record and 3.52 ERA in 10 career starts at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox turn to Chris Sale, their ace who has not pitched further than five innings since July 27. He’s been battling left shoulder inflammation and a significant drop in his fastball velocity. But, Bob Nightengale of USA Today cited unnamed scouts as saying the lefty has been hitting 95+ mph and his bullpen sessions and should be ready to go at full strength against the Bronx Bombers.


Red Sox Lineup:

  1. Mookie Betts – RF
  2. Andrew Benintendi – LF
  3. Steve Pearce – 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez – DH
  5. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  6. Eduardo Núñez – 3B
  7. Ian Kinsler – 2B
  8. Sandy León – C
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF

Game 151: Don’t Let Them Clinch Tonight

The Yankees look to push back the Red Sox celebration as long as they can, as they look to take the first two of three from Boston on Wednesday. Luis Severino, who left his last outing after just 83 pitches with two outs in the sixth inning, looks to get over a significant bump in his season. He’s given up a 6.43 ERA in 11 starts since July 12. His counterpart is frequent Yankee opponent David Price. Price has a 1.56 ERA and five wins in nine starts since the All-Star break. But, he’s 0-5 with a 10.44 ERA in five Yankee Stadium starts since joining the Red Sox. One of these streaks will have to give, and the Yankees are hoping for the latter.

Pre-Game Notes:

  • Austin Romine was unavailable off the bench because of a sore neck. He reported feeling better today, and will be available off the bench.
  • Aroldis Chapman has been activated from the disabled list after missing 28 days with tendinitis in his left knee.

Red Sox Lineup:

  1. Mookie Betts – DH
  2. Andrew Benintendi – LF
  3. J.D. Martinez – RF
  4. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  5. Mitch Moreland – 1B
  6. Ian Kinsler – 2B
  7. Eduardo Núñez – 3B
  8. Sandy León – C
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF

Game 150: Judge Returns

Red Sox Lineup:

  1. Ian Kinsler – 2B
  2. Steve Pearce – 1B
  3. J.D. Martinez – RF
  4. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  5. Eduardo Núñez – DH
  6. Brandon Phillips – 3B
  7. Brock Holt – LF
  8. Christian Vázquez – C
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF

Game 144: Trio in the Twin Cities

The Yankees kick off a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins tonight, sending lefty J.A. Happ to the hill.

Happ got a no-decision his last time out, but pitched quite well. He allowed just one run on two hits Tuesday in Oakland. He’s the owner of a 5-0 record and 3.10 ERA since his trade from Toronto to the Yankees.

Happ’s opponent is Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson. Gibson has been the Twins’ best qualified starter this season in terms of ERA (3.74), though his 7-12 record is nowhere near as pretty. The righty gave up four runs (two earned) his last time out a week ago against Houston on four hits, one walk and five strikeouts.


Pregame Notes:

  • NOT A DRILL: Aaron Judge took five rounds of batting practice on the field today, “without the hint of pain,” per George A. King III of the New York Post. It’s a huge step to see the big fella taking live BP, and here’s to hoping he can sneak into the RailRiders lineup as they chase the Governor’s Cup.
  • Speaking of the Triple-A playoffs, ex-Yankees righty Giovanny Gallegos (traded to St. Louis) had a pinch-hit walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning after the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds ran out of position players. You can’t predict baseball, Suzyn.
  • Luke Voit has some back stiffness, and will sit in favor of Greg Bird tonight. Aaron Boone said Voit’s issue is not serious and that he’ll be available off the bench.
  • Sonny Gray gets the spot-start tomorrow as the Yankees push everyone back a day. The October 3 Wild Card game looms large as the season starts to wrap up, and this is a move to have either Luis Severino or Masahiro Tanaka lined up for that evening.

Twins Lineup:

(italics denotes ex-Yankees)
  1. Joe Mauer – 1B
  2. Jorge Polanco – SS
  3. Logan Forsythe – 2B
  4. Robbie Grossman – RF
  5. Mitch Garver – C
  6. Willians Astudillo – DH
  7. Jake Cave – CF
  8. Johnny Field – LF
  9. Gregorio Petit – 3B

Game 126: Mini-Sweep in Miami

Lance Lynn makes his fourth start as a Yankee as he looks to pitch his new team to a two-game sweep in Miami.

Lynn has been a revelation since coming over from the Minnesota Twins. He has a 2.61 ERA in his five appearances, with a 3.31 mark in his last three outings. He got a no-decision his last time out August 17 against the Blue Jays, allowing five runs on six hits and throwing 99 pitches in just four innings of work. He has made eight appearances (six starts) against the Marlins in his career, with a 4-1 record and 3.75 ERA.

The Marlins send Trevor Richards to the hill to face the Yanks. The 25-year-old debuted April 2, and has a 4.28 ERA in 18 starts for Miami. He got knocked around in his last outing, allowing five runs on 10 hits August 14 in a start against the Atlanta Braves. He threw 95 pitches in 4⅓ innings in an eventual 10-to-6 loss.

Aaron Boone sends out a lineup virtually identical to last night, with a flipping of Greg Bird and Neil Walker.


Pre-Game Notes:

  • Prior to the game, the Yankees placed Aroldis Chapman on the 10-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis and recalled Chance Adams from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In a separate move, they claimed catcher Chris Rabago from the Colorado Rockies and optioned him to Double-A Trenton.
  • Gary Sánchez should get into a Gulf Coast League game either tomorrow or Friday.
  • Aaron Judge did conditioning work in the outfield at Marlins Park this afternoon but still has yet to pickup a bat.
  • Miguel Andújar worked pregame at third base with Alex Rodriguez, who was seen chatting with Andújar and Gleyber Torres around the batting cage.

Marlins Lineup:

  1. Rafael Ortega – RF
  2. J.T. Realmuto – C
  3. Brian Anderson – 3B
  4. Starlin Castro – 2B
  5. Derek Dietrich – 1B
  6. Austin Dean – LF
  7. Miguel Rojas – SS
  8. Magneuris Sierra – CF
  9. Austin Richards – RHP

Game 125: Stanton Returns to The 305

Giancarlo Stanton will play his first game in Miami since being traded to the Yankees in December 2017 as the Yanks head south for a two-game series.

Masahiro Tanaka hopes to avenge his April 17 start against the Marlins, an outing where he allowed seven runs on seven hits through just five innings of work. He got a tough-luck loss his last time out August 16, pitching six innings of two-run ball against the Tampa Bay Rays. August hasn’t been particularly kind to him, as he currently owns a 5.17 ERA and .323 batting average against through three starts against the Red Sox, Rangers and Rays.

Pablo López gets the ball for the Marlins, making his ninth start of the 2018 season. He debuted and got the win June 30 behind six innings of two run ball against the Mets. In his last start August 13, he gave up six runs in 5.1 innings in the first game of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves.

Giancarlo Stanton is back in Miami, but more importantly for the Yankees, he is back in right field. He had been limited to serving as the designated hitter for weeks because of a tight left hamstring. Before the game, the Yankees placed Didi Gregorius on the 10-day disabled list with a left heel bruise. Gleyber Torres will start tonight at shortstop, with Neil Walker at second base. Luke Voit was recalled to take Gregorius’ roster spot.


Pre-Game Notes:

  • Gary Sánchez will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow in the Gulf Coast League, and then head to Triple-A for “about a week,” per Aaron Boone. That timeline puts him back with the Yankees around the September 1 roster expansion date.
  • CC Sabathia is set to be activated off the disabled list Friday to start the first game of a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.
  • The Yanks hope Didi Gregorius‘ time on the disabled list is short, obviously, but the team will have a better sense of his prognosis after a few more days of evaluation in New York.
  • No. 1 prospect Justus Sheffield was originally scheduled to start tonight in Triple-A, but has been replaced by Nestor Cortes. SWB’s game notes list Sheffield as a reliever, so it’s not an injury. The Yanks might be grooming the 22-year-old for a David Price-like role as a reliever in 2018 to prepare him as a starter for 2019.

Marlins Lineup:

  1. Rafael Ortega – RF
  2. J.T. Realmuto – C
  3. Brian Anderson – 3B
  4. Derek Dietrich – 1B
  5. Starlin Castro – 2B
  6. Austin Dean – LF
  7. JT Riddle – SS
  8. Magneuris Sierra – CF
  9. Pablo López – RHP

Game 124: Sweep Your Old Friends, Happ

With the first two games of the series already in their back pocket, the Yankees look to sweep the Toronto Blue Jays out of town behind an old friend of their’s.

J.A. Happ gets the ball, making his first start against the Blue Jays since July 25, 2015, as a member of the Seattle Mariners. Happ has been better than advertised since coming to the Yankees for a package of Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney. He has won all three of his starts, and sports a stingy 1.89 ERA in 19 total innings as a Yankee.

His counterpart will be 24-year-old lefty Ryan Borucki, whom the Yankees are familiar with already. He held the Yankees to one run through seven innings July 8, in a game the Yanks eventually won in the 10th inning off old friend Tyler Clippard. In six starts since then, Borucki has a 2-1 record and 3.94 ERA. The Blue Jays are 5-1 in those starts.

Neil Walker, who had some, err, adventures in right field yesterday, gets the afternoon off in favor of Shane Robinson. Kyle Higashioka, who took over as precaution after Austin Romine took a brutal foul-tip to the catcher’s mask yesterday, gets the start behind the plate this afternoon as planned. Aaron Hicks slides into the leadoff spot, where he’s hitting .269/.357/.593 in 127 plate appearances. Miguel Andújar bats third for the third time this season, though he’s yet to register a hit in that position. He’s slashing .361/.378/.667 in 111 plate appearances since the All-Star break. Brett Gardner slides to ninth against the lefty, a spot where he’s slashed .250/.304/.400 in 23 plate appearances.


Pre-Game Notes:

  • Romine told reporters that he feels “great” and that he “can play today,” though I’d imagine the Yankees will avoid that scenario at all costs.
  • Aaron Boone told reporters that he is “confident” Giancarlo Stanton, who has been playing through a tight left hamstring that has limited him to designated hitter duty, will be able to play the outfield Tuesday in Miami. He said that would be determined before that game.
  • Gary Sánchez will begin playing rehab games in Tampa on Wednesday or Thursday, though it’s unclear whether he will start in the Gulf Coast League or with A-Adv. Tampa. He was scheduled to head to Tampa today, but instead, took batting practice on the field in the Bronx today. He’ll head south tomorrow.

Blue Jays Lineup:

  1. Russell Martin – 3B (Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting .345/.448/.600 in Triple-A… service time!)
  2. Devon Travis – 2B
  3. Randal Grichuk – RF
  4. Kendrys Morales – 1B
  5. Kevin Pillar – CF
  6. Teoscar Hernández – DH
  7. Danny Jansen – C
  8. Aledmys Díaz – SS
  9. Billy McKinney – LF
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