The Yankees somehow manage to play better against higher-quality teams, and that will be put to the test tonight in Cleveland. Luis Severino meets his match as he takes on Corey Kluber.
Sevy has been unreal this season. His 2.12 ERA on the season is good for third in all of Major League Baseball. He hasn’t lost since June 10, and in that span (five starts), he owns a 1.67 ERA and has struck out 34 batters compared to just eight walks. He is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four career starts against Cleveland.
Facing Kluber does not feel as intimidating after watching Didi Gregorius take him deep twice in Game 5 of the 2017 American League Division Series. The stats, however, show he is still one of the most dominant pitchers in the league. He enters 12-4 with a 2.49 ERA. He pitched well his last time out July 7 against Oakland, but got the no-decision. He pitched seven innings allowing no runs on five hits. He has great career stats against the Yankees: 5-1, 1.80 ERA in seven starts.
Same lineup as last night but swap Neil Walker in for Tyler Wade. Aaron Judge is back in right field, while Giancarlo Stanton is the designated hitter.
- Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard of the swirling trade rumors connecting the Yankees and Orioles INF Manny Machado. The Yanks apparently have made a “strong” offer to the O’s that does not include OF Clint Frazier or LHP Justus Sheffield. The Orioles reportedly want close to MLB-ready talent, and either Frazier or Sheffield would represent that. The Yankees are vying with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers for Machado, and are also in on LHP Zach Britton, per sources.
- Gleyber Torres was seen taking ground balls before the game, so he’s continuing to progress back from a hip strain. Gary Sánchez ran the bases and is expected to be sent out on a minor-league rehab assignment before the end of the four-game set in Cleveland.
- Francisco Lindor – SS
- Michael Brantley – LF
- José Ramírez – 3B
- Edwin Encarnación – DH
- Yonder Alonso – 1B
- Jason Kipnis – 2B
- Tyler Naquin – RF
- Yan Gomes – C
- Greg Allen CF
BALTIMORE – It’s an odd feeling to be celebrating a four-game series split with the worst team in the American League.
And yet, it’s worth celebrating the game for the Yankees where so many positives happen to players that have been mired in bad streaks for so long. Sonny Gray pitched six scoreless innings, and looked as sharp as ever. His velocity hit 95+ mph 13 times, the highest number of times he’s hit that this season. It looked like Austin Romine had him focus solely on sinkers and curveballs, and that might just be what Gray needs.
Greg Bird launched his first career grand slam, as his bat continues to heat up just in time for the All-Star Break. His .250/.407/.550 line over his past six games shows just how good he can be. I’m glad he could bounce back after having the game-winning hit clank off his glove.
Tyler Wade, who began his 2018 season with a 3-for-35 in 13 games, clocked three hits including his first big league homer. The silent treatment he got in the dugout was absolutely priceless. Wade is hitting .444/.444/.889 in six games since being recalled to replace Gleyber Torres.
Giancarlo Stanton collected RBI singles in the first and ninth innings, while Romine cranked home run No. 6 on the season in the seventh inning. Aaron Hicks should’ve been given an RBI infield single, but the Orioles official scorer decided to rule it a fielder’s choice + E1 instead (It was ruled a missed catch error on the pitcher fielding a chopper; something I’ve never seen before).
The battle of the aces. Luis Severino (14-2, 2.12 ERA) faces Corey Kluber (12-4, 2.49 ERA) in a marquee matchup in Cleveland. This is the opener of a four-game set from Progressive Field in Cleveland.
The words are written in huge letters on the whiteboard in the visiting clubhouse in Baltimore:
After last night’s incredibly frustrating walk-off loss to the Orioles, they aim to turn it around and split the series with a win today. Sonny Gray takes the mound tasked with pitching the Yankees to that victory, in what could be the most important outing of his pinstriped tenure. It’s no secret Gray has been awful, and a good start tonight could save him from being traded away as a salary dump before the July 31 deadline. Gray has a 9.00 ERA in his last five starts and needs a good outing against a bad team to make himself look better. In his career, Gray is 4-4 with a 4.64 ERA against the Orioles, and 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in five career starts at Camden Yards.
On the other side of the pitching matchup is Orioles ace Dylan Bundy. The 25-year-old right-hander carries a 4.08 ERA in 17 starts heading into tonight. Despite all their matchups already this season, the Yankees have yet to face Bundy in 2018. In his career, Bundy is 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA in seven games (five starts) against the Yankees. He got roughed up his last time out July 6 against Minnesota, allowing six runs (five earned) in 3⅓ innings.
Nothing super crazy being done with the Yankees lineup tonight. Didi Gregorius moves back into the No. 3 slot, while Aaron Hicks slides down to No. 5 in the order. Greg Bird, on the heels of a four-RBI night, gets back into the No. 6 slot. Miguel Andújar goes down to No. 7, while Tyler Wade gets the start at second base and bats ninth.
- Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres are continuing to progress in their respective rehab processes. The Yankees are sending head athletic trainer Steve Donohue to Washington with Torres during the All-Star break so he can keep his rehab regimen up.
- Lots of trade rumors connecting the Yankees to Orioles INF Manny Machado, with Jon Morosi of MLB.com reporting the Orioles would trade Machado to the Bronx if LHP Justus Sheffield is included in the deal. It’s unclear if Brian Cashman would move Sheffield exclusively for Machado, especially since the team has been linked to LHP Zach Britton as well.
Baltimore Orioles Lineup
- Tim Beckham – 3B
- Adam Jones – CF
- Manny Machado – SS
- Mark Trumbo – DH
- Jonathan Schoop – 2B
- Chris Davis – 1B
- Danny Valencia – RF
- Joey Rickard – LF
- Caleb Joseph – C
Wow, 90 games in already. The All-Star break is next week, and the trade rumors are going crazy. Outside of October, July might be my favorite baseball month.
July gets better for the Yankees today as they welcome Masahiro Tanaka back from the disabled list. The righty will make his first start since straining both hamstrings June 8 scoring on a sacrifice fly against the Mets. Tanaka’s two June starts saw him give up five earned runs across 10⅓ innings pitched. He has definitely benefitted from the Yankees prodigious offense, as evidenced by his 10 wins and 4.58 ERA. Through his 13 starts this season, they score 6.71 runs on average behind him.
Tanaka’s counterpart on the hill will be veteran righty Andrew Cashner. The 31-year-old has a very similar ERA (4.39) but has just two wins on his ledger. That’s because the Orioles average just 2.61 runs behind him on the season. His last outing July 5 was quite respectable, where he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits through six innings. The O’s only scored two that day, so Cashner was saddled with the loss. He’s 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season, and 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA against the Bombers overall.
The starting lineup goes back to normal with yesterday’s doubleheader madness out of the way. Neil Walker gets a second consecutive start at second base, and will likely get most of the playing time there now that Brandon Drury has been optioned to Triple-A. Aaron Hicks bats third for the fifth time this season, where he’s hitting .308/.438/.538 coming into tonight’s game.
- Miguel Andújar is simply ignoring the swirling Manny Machado trade rumors, which are magnified given that the Yankees are playing in Baltimore currently. “Those are things I have no control of. To me it’s about doing what I can, worrying about what I need to do here,” Andújar said to Erik Boland. “I don’t pay attention to that stuff.”
- Gary Sánchez ran the bases on the field at Oriole Park under the watchful eyes of first base coach Reggie Willits and strength and conditioning director Matthew Krause. If he doesn’t encounter any setbacks, he could go on a minor-league rehab assignment as soon as this weekend.
- Aaron Boone told Boland that Tanaka would have a pitch count “in the range of 80 tonight”.
- Gleyber Torres (right hip strain) was seen throwing on the field while Sánchez did his baserunning drills. MLB announced today that he would be replaced on the American League All-Star roster by Oakland Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie.
- Prior to tonight’s game, right-hander David Hale, who was designated for assignment July 7, elected free agency in lieu of an outright assignment to the minors. He did this in May as well, but wound up re-signing with the Yankees on a minor league contract four days later.
Baltimore Orioles Lineup:
- Tim Beckham – 3B
- Adam Jones – CF
- Manny Machado – SS
- Mark Trumbo – DH
- Jonathan Schoop – 2B
- Chris Davis – 1B
- Trey Mancini – LF
- Joey Rickard – RF
- Caleb Joseph – C
The Yankees will have four representatives on the American League squad for this year’s All-Star Game in Washington on July 17.
- 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.
The last time Sonny Gray really dominated on the mound came in Toronto on June 6, where he pitched eight shutout innings and allowed just two hits.
The Yankees eventually won that game in 13 innings, and hope tonight that Gray can recover from one of the worst stretches in his career. Since that start, the righty has pitched to a 7.58 ERA and hitters have a .935 OPS against him in four starts against the Washington Nationals (twice), Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. The Yankees have only won one of those starts. Gray continues to be a weak point in the Yankees rotation, and it’s clear that Brian Cashman is searching for an upgrade.
The Blue Jays send Sam Gaviglio to the hill for his second start of the season against the Yankees. Gaviglio pitched equally well June 6, allowing just three hits across seven shutout innings. He, too, has struggled since then, with a 6.16 ERA and .850 OPS against in four starts against Tampa Bay, Washington, Los Angeles-AL and Detroit. However, the Blue Jays have managed to win three of those four starts.
Austin Romine returns to the lineup to catch Gray. He had not started a game since June 30, which he came out of after seven innings because of hamstring tightness. Neil Walker gets the start at second base as Gleyber Torres is in his second day of a minimum 10-day DL stint. Tyler Wade is up to replace Torres on the active roster.
- CC Sabathia will start game one of the Yankees’ doubleheader July 9 in Baltimore, per Aaron Boone. It’s unclear at the moment who will start game two, with Luis Cessa and Jonathan Loáisiga in the mix. Masahiro Tanaka will start Tuesday.
- Gary Sánchez is traveling with the team, and “appears on track to rejoin the MLB roster shortly after the All-Star break,” per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com
- Torres’ hip strain is “mild,” per Boone, so hopefully his DL stint won’t be much longer than the 10 days.
Blue Jays Lineup
- Curtis Granderson – DH
- Teoscar Hernández – LF
- Yangervis Solarte – 3B
- Justin Smoak – 1B
- Kevin Pillar – CF
- Russell Martin – C
- Randall Grichuk – RF
- Aledmys Díaz – SS
- Devon Travis – 2B
The Yankees have recalled utility man Tyler Wade to be active for tonight’s series opener in Toronto. Wade will fill the roster spot vacated by Gleyber Torres, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Thursday with a right hip strain.
Wade struggled mightily at the MLB level after winning the starting second base job out of Spring Training behind a .286/.400/.388 line and a newly revamped swing that resulted from offseason workouts with Albert Pujols. But, the results in the early going for Wade were anything but Pujols-like: .086/.158/.143 with a 29% strikeout rate. Wade also was sick during the opening series in Toronto, and lost a significant amount of weight.
The 23-year-old was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on April 22, the same day that Torres made his MLB debut. Wade got off to a bit of a rocky start in the International League, collecting just five hits in his first week back. But, in 58 games since May 1, Wade has returned to producing like he did last year: .282/.343/.394 with his strikeout rate down to 19.5%.
As he returns to the Yankees, he’ll see himself in a different role than before. Aaron Boone has already said that Neil Walker will receive the majority of time at second base, and it’s possible that Brandon Drury is ahead of Wade on the second base depth chart. In recent weeks, Wade has appeared at his primary position of shortstop, third base, second base, left field, center field and right field. So, he’s the utility backup on a team that likes to carry a short bench. If he can produce at a similar clip to Triple-A, he will be able to regain some value with Yankees fans that he lost with his disappointing start.
Wade gets the call to the big leagues over Ronald Torreyes because the latter is currently on the temporarily inactive list at Triple-A. He is with his wife, who is dealing with an undisclosed medical ailment. The 25-year-old had been slashing an uncharacteristically low .196/.255/.217 in 13 games at SWB, and had picked up just two hits in his last five games prior to his movement to the temporarily inactive list.