Game 57: The Price is Right?

The New York Yankees look to take the rubber game of their series against the division rival Boston Red Sox.

For the Bombers, Michael Pineda looks to right the ship after a poor start against the Toronto Blue Jays. Pineda allowed five runs and 10 hits over just five innings. He hadn’t allowed more than three runs in nine starts. He currently sports a 4.73 ERA through 11 starts in his career against the Red Sox.

The Red Sox hope that lefty David Price can reverse his luck against the Yankees. Price pitched well in his June 3 start against Baltimore, allowing just three hits and one earned run through seven innings pitched. Boston’s $217 million man struggled against the Bombers last season, with just one win and a very inflated 7.89 ERA in five starts. Price’s 3.98 career ERA at Yankee Stadium is his third-worst at any American League ballpark.

Joe Girardi is sticking with the same lineup as last night. He decided to flip Aaron Hicks and Gary Sánchez so that Hicks’s high on-base percentage would lead to greater RBI opportunities for the heart of the order. After starting the first two games of the series, Deven Marrero will sit in favor of Pablo Sandoval at third base and Josh Rutledge at second base for the Red Sox.

Starting Lineups

Boston Red Sox
  1. Mookie Betts – RF
  2. Andrew Benintendi – LF
  3. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  4. Mitch Moreland – 1B
  5. Hanley Ramírez – DH
  6. Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF
  7. Josh Rutledge – 2B
  8. Pablo Sandoval – 3B
  9. Christian Vázquez – C
New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Aaron Hicks – CF
  3. Aaron Judge – RF
  4. Matt Holliday – DH
  5. Starlin Castro – 2B
  6. Gary Sánchez – C
  7. Didi Gregorius – SS
  8. Chase Headley – 3B
  9. Chris Carter – 1B

Red Sox 0, Yankees 8: Carter, CC Dominate BoSox

Eight innings of shutout pitching from CC Sabathia and three hits from Chris Carter propelled the Yankees to an 8-0 victory over the Red Sox.

Chris Carter finally had that offensive breakout everyone was expecting of him. He mashed his second home run in as many games en route to his fourth multi-hit game of the season. He pushed his season average to .202 with his 3-for-4 effort.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs, but I’m just trying to be consistent and put the ball on the bat and hit more barrels,” Carter said, per Bryan Hoch. “Anything can happen. You never know with this game, it’s a long season. I’m just trying to keep it simple and not do too much.”

Carter realistically was inches from a second home run when the ball tipped off of a fan’s hand into the glove of BoSox right fielder Mookie Betts. It was a moment of sheer confusion on the field, as the umpires ruled that Joe Girardi had not properly signaled for a challenge within the 30-second window.

Sabathia continues to contribute massive things to this team. Over eight innings and 95 pitches, he walked none, struck out five and allowed five hits. His calm and consistent demeanor on the mound bring certainty to a team that has a lot of questions about its current ace.

“Obviously, Carter with the big three-run homer was huge,” Sabathia said, per Bryan Hoch. “Our lineup is so deep. There’s a lot of opportunities for guys on base. Hopefully, we can just keep that up.”

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The Yankees scored first in the bottom of the third on a Didi Gregorius home run. In the fourth, Gary Sánchez had an RBI single before Carter’s 3-run bomb. A Matt Holliday infield single scored Brett Gardner in the seventh. Carter struck again with an RBI single in the eighth, then Gardner singled to score Chase Headley.

Red Sox 5, Yankees 4: Homers Bite Tanaka Again

Masahiro Tanaka gave up another three home runs to the Red Sox tonight as the Yankees fell by a tight score of 5-4.

Mitch Moreland, Hanley Ramírez and Andrew Benintendi each homered to power the Red Sox offense. Those home runs pushed Tanaka to his fifth straight loss. In those games, he has allowed 27 earned runs in 22⅔ innings. Each one of Tanaka’s pitches left the yard today (Moreland – slider, Ramírez – splitter, Benintendi – sinker). The Sox scored their first run on an RBI force out by Xander Bogaerts.

The Yankees never rolled over, but also never cashed in on their various opportunities to score. The Bombers left eight men on base, scoring on a Didi Gregorius single in the second, a Chris Carter home run (finally) in the fifth, a double play ball by Gregorius in the sixth and on a wild pitch in the eighth.

They had Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel seemingly on the ropes when he was brought in for the first out of a 4-out save in the bottom of the eighth inning. He struck out Gregorius, but the pitch went to the backstop allowing a run to score and Didi to reach first. He walked Chase Headley, but then got Chris Carter to swing at a pitch near his face to put out the fire.

The Yankees didn’t put up a fight in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kimbrel struck out the side with ease to start the home stand off on a sour note for the Yankees.


After being placed on the disabled list on May 14, it appears as though hard throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman is approaching his return. Bryan Hoch reports that he is trying to return June 15 against the Oakland Athletics. Chapman told reporters he was going to the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa on Friday for a simulated game. He then hopes to start his rehab games with the AA Trenton Thunder.

Hoch also reported that outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury underwent an MRI on his injured neck that showed no structural damage.

“He’ll continue to take things slow. He’s not ready to go,” Girardi said, per Hoch’s post. “He’s still suffering the effects. We feel that he’s better than he was when it first happened, but still there’s no exact timetable because you just don’t know.”

Of course, Aaron Hicks has performed admirably in Ellsbury’s stead in center field.

Lastly, Greg Bird is set to take his rehab show on the road to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday after hitting safely in his first five contests for the Tampa Yankees. The Yankees obviously need all the help they can get at first base, so Bird’s return would be highly welcome.

Game 55: Will the Real Tanaka Please Stand Up?

The biggest rivalry in baseball comes to the Bronx as the New York Yankees welcome the Boston Red Sox for a three-game midweek set.

The Yankees, coming off an “O.K. road trip” in the words of skipper Joe Girardi, look to create more distance between themselves and their American League East rivals. The Red Sox recently jumped over the Baltimore Orioles into second place in the division, and now look up at the Yankees. Boston comes into the series winning their last two games, but an even 6-4 in their last 10.

The man in charge of stopping that potent Red Sox lineup is right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. The 28-year-old looks to shake off his inconsistency against the same team that he threw a complete game shutout against on April 27. The month of May was not friendly to him, as he gave up at least four runs in every start except for one. Tanaka looks to pitch just like he did on May 26 when he allowed just one run in 7⅓ innings against Oakland.

On the flip-side, the Yankees face off against left-hander Drew Pomeranz. Acquired during the 2016 All-Star break, Pomeranz sports an inflated 4.42 ERA in his Boston career through 23 starts. The 28-year-old did not face the Yankees when the two teams met earlier this season at Fenway Park. He got the win against the Chicago White Sox on May 31 behind seven innings of one-run pitching. Pomeranz had a 3.38 ERA in his starts against the Yankees last season.

Both players that the Yankees need to get going or replace are in the lineup tonight, as Chase Headley and Chris Carter occupy the No. 8 and 9 slots, respectively. It’s worth noting that Gary Sánchez will be behind the plate tonight, after Girardi experimented with Austin Romine as Tanaka’s personal catcher. The Sox are without veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 30 after spraining his left wrist against the Detroit Tigers. Deven Marrero gets the start at second base tonight.

Starting Lineups

Boston Red Sox
  1. Mookie Betts – RF
  2. Andrew Benintendi – LF
  3. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  4. Mitch Moreland – 1B
  5. Hanley Ramírez – DH
  6. Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF
  7. Christian Vázquez – C
  8. Pablo Sandoval – 3B
  9. Deven Marrero – 2B
New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Gary Sánchez – C
  3. Aaron Judge – RF
  4. Matt Holliday – DH
  5. Starlin Castro – 2B
  6. Aaron Hicks – CF
  7. Didi Gregorius – SS
  8. Chase Headley – 3B
  9. Chris Carter – 1B

 

What to Do With Chase Headley?

Just about every Yankees fan has wondered at some point this season about the fate of third baseman Chase Headley.

The switch-hitter got off to a torrid start in the 2017 campaign, but has fallen off dramatically ever since. He hit just .165 in May, and is off to a 3-for-16 (.188) start to June. The veteran’s struggles combined with the Yankees’ desire to shift to younger players might just doom Headley’s tenure in the Bronx.

Rumors are swirling that the Yankees are exploring the trade market for third basemen, but there really is not much worth trading for out there. Especially as a rebuilding franchise (hard to believe, I know) that has one of the best farm systems in baseball. It will be interesting to see how long of a leash Headley gets. He sat two games against the Oakland Athletics in favor of Ronald Torreyes to clear his head. Torreyes could start to see more playing time at the hot corner, especially after he hit .313 in the month of April.

There are a few other internal options. The recently activated (but optioned) Tyler Austin has played quite sparingly at third base in his career. Top prospect Gleyber Torres, who is a natural shortstop, plays three games a week at third base for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has made two errors in 12 games at the hot corner. Torres is hitting a combined .269/.378/.463 between AA Trenton and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. A much more raw prospect is Miguel Andújar, who has already committed eight errors at third. He is hitting .302/.333/.492 for AA Trenton. The last real option is Swiss Army knife Tyler Wade. Wade is hitting .296/.368/.442 so far at AAA, but has only logged 55 innings at the hot corner this season.

Headley still has a job for now, but I think the Yankees might have optioned Tyler Austin in the hopes of getting him some third base reps. Austin and Andújar are the two options who are already on the 40-man roster if you do not include Rob Refsnyder (though it appears Refsnyder is trying to get more first base reps over the struggling Chris Carter). If Austin continues his .333/.385/.542 line now that his rehab assignment is over, he might just have a chance at taking over the hot corner until they want to start Torres’s service clock or Manny Machado puts on the pinstripes.

Tyler Austin Reinstated From DL, Optioned to AAA

The Yankees announced that they have reinstated Tyler Austin from the 60-day disabled list, and promptly optioned him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The 25-year-old fractured the navicular area of his left foot on February 17, 2017, during batting practice. He started the season on the 60-day disabled list so that his 40-man roster spot could be given to utility infielder Pete Kozma. Once Kozma was traded to the Texas Rangers, the Yankees never replaced him on the 40-man as they awaited Austin’s return.

The move feels puzzling as the Yankees currently struggle to find production out of the first base position. Manager Joe Girardi had said he wanted Austin to get at least 50 at-bats in the minor leagues because his injury had caused him to miss Spring Training. Through 13 minor league games, Austin has logged 44 at-bats (.341/.396/.545). Perhaps the Yankees want him to get a little more seasoning before bringing him up. Major League roster rules stipulate that the team must wait 10 days before promoting Austin to the major league level unless there is an injury.

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Austin can play the corner infield and outfield spots, but was drafted as a catcher in the 13th round of the 2010 draft. He could be an option to help with the first base problem for the Yankees, and then slide over to third base if Chase Headley continues to struggle. Austin had a memorable MLB debut when he and Aaron Judge hit back-to-back home runs in their first big league at-bats.


First base has been an unexpected disaster for the Yankees this season. The team had hoped Greg Bird would return to his 2015 form, when he hit .261 with 11 home runs in a 46 game audition replacing the injured Mark Teixeira. Bird looked the part in Spring Training, hitting a red-hot .451 with eight home runs. But, he went just 6-for-60 to start the year as he was bothered by a bone bruise on his right ankle. He is currently on a rehab assignment with the Class-A Advanced Tampa Yankees.

The other options that Girardi has deployed at first base have simply not been effective. Chris Carter, who led the NL with 41 home runs last season but signed a very late 1-year deal, has been awful. The 30-year-old has struck out in 43% of his at-bats this season, and carries just a .180 average and four home runs.

Rob Refsnyder has gotten limited time at first base this year, logging just eight games. He is hitting .125, albeit in a very small sample size. He puts together better at-bats than Carter, and can make things happen with his versatility and speed. Refsnyder started over Carter in the final two games of the Toronto series, but was pulled in the late innings in favor of tighter defense.

Matt Holliday has also played five games at first base this season, at first just to keep his bat in the lineup at National League ballparks. In 93 career innings at first, he’s made just one error.

There also were reports that the Bombers were working out Aaron Hicks at first base prior to Jacoby Ellsbury‘s concussion.

Yankees Trade Rubén Tejada to Orioles

A little late on this one, but the Yankees have traded veteran utility infielder Rubén Tejada to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations. The Orioles assigned Tejada to the Norfolk Tides, their AAA affiliate.

Tejada signed with the team on December 12, 2016, and was invited to Spring Training. The 27-year-old was reassigned to minor league camp in late March, and started the season with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was slashing .269/.345/.462 with the RailRiders before the trade.

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He got his start in the big leagues with the New York Mets after they signed him as an international free-agent in 2006. Tejada made his big league debut in April 2010, and was the team’s starting shortstop in 2012 after they lost José Reyes to free agency. A quad injury in 2013 saw him lose his job to Omar Quintanilla, and caused his permanent relegation to the backup infielder role.

Tejada found himself in the middle of a heated debate about player safety after he suffered a broken right fibula in the second game of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015.

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Chase Utley made no attempt to slide into the second base bag when trying to break up a double play, “in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a) (13)”. Utley originally was suspended for two games, though he won his appeal. Since then, any illegal slides now result in an automatic double play, and such slides are reviewable.

Tejada signed with the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2015 season on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. Tejada debuted on the mound in a May 20 blowout loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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His quad injury reappeared, and he was eventually designated for assignment on May 28. He refused his outright assignment, and became a free agent. He signed a minor-league deal with the San Francisco Giants on June 13, appearing in 13 games and going 5-for-32 (.156).

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The Orioles acquired Tejada for infield depth after 32-year-old Robert Andino was suspended for amphetamine use.

Yankees 2, Blue Jays 3: Donaldson Homer Downs Yanks

Luis Severino did all he could to help the Yankees win, but ultimately they fell 3-2 after Tyler Clippard gave up an eighth inning home run to Josh Donaldson.

Severino impressed with his ability to throw strikes, as he only walked one batter but struck out seven. He made just one mistake on the mound, when he allowed a two-run home run to Justin Smoak. In total, he allowed six hits.

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The Yankees offense was powered by Matt Holliday. They scored their first run in the fourth inning when Aaron Judge led off with a single to right field. He stole second, then motored to third on a throwing error by catcher Luke Maile. Holliday followed with a screaming line drive double to center field to score Judge.

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The Yankees scored again in the sixth inning. Brett Gardner singled, Gary Sánchez walked, Gardner moved to third on a deep fly ball from Judge, then Holliday managed to leg out a potential double play ball that allowed Gardner to score. Unfortunately, the offense went dormant from there.

That lead stood for just another half frame as Kendrys Morales singled off Severino, then Smoak hit his 14th home run of the year to tie the game at two. Clippard came in to pitch the eighth, and allowed Donaldson’s sixth home run of the year after a six pitch at-bat.

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That ultimately became the final score as Jays closer Roberto Osuna easily handled the heart of the Yankees order with three strikeouts in the top of the ninth.

Today marks the team’s first off day in a while, as the team prepares to welcome the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles for a quick six-game homestand. After that, they will had on their first West Coast swing of the year, taking on the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics.

Yankees 7, Blue Jays 0: Doubles, Homers Back Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery put together his most effective start at the big-league level, and eight extra-base hits powered the Yankees to a 7-0 victory.

The Yankees only recorded doubles and home-runs in yesterday’s contest. Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge each hit doubles as the Bombers offense clicked against converter reliever Joe Biagini. Their first run scored after Rob Refsnyder reached on an error, stole second and then moved to third on a Brett Gardner fly out. Hicks then continued his hot hitting with an RBI double, then Judge hit a double of his own to make it 2-0.

The Yankees made it 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh when they pushed another run across when Castro led off with a double, and then Didi Gregorius immediately followed with another one.

The Yankees put an exclamation point on the game once Biagini was out, and reliever Jason Grilli entered. Gardner led off the inning with a solo home run, then two batters later, Matt Holliday, Castro and Gregorius went back-to-back-to with solo shots of their own to make it 7-0.

Montgomery was quite effective in six strong innings. He allowed just three hits, walked three and struck out five Blue Jays. Joe Girardi used his setup men and closer to get the final nine outs, as Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances combined to throw three no-hit innings.

Game 53: Montgomery Tasked With Middle Game

Averaging 8.5 runs per game already this series, the Yankees look to back rookie Jordan Montgomery with another offensive barrage.

In his last time out, Montgomery did not have his best stuff, and was abandoned by the Yankees defense. He allowed three runs through 4⅓ innings, marking his shortest start at the Major League level. The lefty looks to revert to his May 23 form when he allowed just one run to the Kansas City Royals through 6⅔ innings. No one on the Blue Jays has faced Montgomery in the past.

The Yankees face converted reliever Joe Biagini in his sixth start. He pitched six innings and threw 95 pitches in his last outing against Texas. He pitched effectively (7 hits, 2 ER), but took the loss. A few Yankees have success against him in a very small sample size because the Bombers only have faced him as a reliever.

Gary Sánchez gets the day off as Austin Romine will do the catching today. Aaron Hicks, who is 11-for-24 (.458) in the past seven days, moves up to the No. 2 slot. Chris Carter is out of the lineup in favor of Rob Refsnyder. Girardi also continues the Aaron Judge in the No. 3 slot experiment, which has worked well in the past few games.


Joe Girardi told reporters that Jacoby Ellsbury has been shut down indefinitely after a return of concussion symptoms. Ellsbury suffered the concussion on May 24 after colliding hard with the center field wall at Yankee Stadium chasing down an Alcides Escobar fly ball. He will just rest for the time being.

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Starting Lineups

New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Aaron Hicks – CF
  3. Aaron Judge – RF
  4. Matt Holliday – DH
  5. Starlin Castro – 2B
  6. Didi Gregorius – SS
  7. Chase Headley – 3B
  8. Austin Romine – C
  9. Rob Refsnyder – 1B
Toronto Blue Jays
  1. Kevin Pillar – CF
  2. Josh Donaldson – 3B
  3. José Bautista – RF
  4. Kendrys Morales – DH
  5. Justin Smoak – 1B
  6. Troy Tulowitzki – SS
  7. Devon Travis – 2B
  8. Darwin Barney – LF
  9. Luke Maile – C

 

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