Tag: Neil Walker

Red Sox 2, Yankees 3: Walker’s 10th Homer the Difference-Maker

No clinch for Boston.

THE BRONX – Neil Walker crushed his 10th homer of the year off Ryan Brasier to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning Tuesday, en route to the first Yankee win over Boston since July 1.

The bridge to dominant closer Craig Kimbrel has been sketchy all year for Alex Cora‘s Red Sox, though their 103 wins would say otherwise. Nathan Eovaldi was masterful for six innings, allowing two hits in six shutout innings before being pulled with just 83 pitches. Brandon Workman entered to start the seventh and walked both Aaron Hicks and Gary Sánchez (with Miguel Andújar popping up on a likely ball 4 in between).

Cora went to Brasier, and Aaron Boone elected to stick with Walker at the plate and Sánchez on first. This time, Boone won. Walker smoked a 3-2 slider into the second deck at Yankee Stadium, and he knew it. As he left the batter’s box, he pointed to the Yankees dugout. The Yankee offense finally got a jolt.

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David Robertson pitched a scoreless eighth inning, which included some uncharacteristically lackadaisical defense from Aaron Hicks. J.D. Martinez doubled into the gap, and the ball got past Hicks. The center-fielder jogged after the ball, and simply tossed it to the cut-off man while Martinez motored into third. Robertson induced two fly balls to render the issue moot.

But, bad defense was the theme of the ninth inning as Zach Britton was brought in to close. Brandon Phillips was thrown out 2-3 on a strikeout to start the frame, and then things got frustrating. Adeiny Hechavarría, who replaced Andújar for defense, threw a 5-4-3 double-play ball away by throwing it to the arm side of Gleyber Torres (which was unfairly ruled an E4). Sam Travis then hit a tapper back to Britton, and he threw a sinker on a potential 1-4-3 double-play ball into center field. That allowed Brock Holt, who walked, to score. But, two pitches later, they finally got it right. Ian Kinsler hit a ground ball back to Britton, and they finally got the 1-4-3 needed to push a Red Sox clinch celebration back at least another 24 hours.

Britton understood the magnitude of the situation, as he was given an opportunity to atone for the mistake he committed. One play after throwing the ball into center field, he was able to throw a strike to Torres that allowed him to record his sixth save on the season. The difference? A return to the fundamentals of throwing a baseball:

“The balls were wet,” Britton said. “So after the error that I made, I just thought, if I find the other one, I’ve really got to find the four seams and make a good throw to second and make sure we got one out.”

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Not to be lost in Tuesday’s big win was the performance of J.A. Happ. The veteran delivered another quality start, allowing an unearned run (because of a Sánchez passed ball) on four hits and three walks. He recorded six strikeouts, and 65% of his 102 pitches were strikes. In the third inning, Kinsler singled, moved to second on a phantom balk call (seriously, it’s hard to see), and scored on a Martinez sacrifice fly after moving to third on the passed ball.


Aaron Judge got through his first full game since July 26 without a setback. He went 0-for-4, hitting the ball hard three times before getting rung up on a questionable check-swing call in his final at-bat.

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Judge, of course, was not originally supposed to start Tuesday. But, the six-hour delay in start time allowed him to hit in another simulated game, and convince the Yankees decision-makers that he was ready to go.

“I just voiced my opinion. A lot,” Judge said after the game. “I think they got tired of me telling them I wanted to be playing. So they finally said let’s put him in there and see what happens.”

Yankees Acquire Hechavarría From Pirates; Designate Bollinger for Assignment

More infield depth for the Bombers.

The Yanks added infield insurance just before the 11:59 p.m. Eastern deadline for postseason eligibility, acquiring defensive stud Adeiny Hechavarría from the Pittsburgh Pirates (with cash considerations) in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Just about all of Hechavarría’s value comes from his glove, as he owns a meager .254/.287/.342 (69 wRC+) batting line across 76 games with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh in 2018. The Pirates acquired him August 6 for a minor-league pitcher after Tampa Bay designated him for assignment August 1.

In 625⅓ innings at shortstop in 2018, Hechavarría has totaled +3 defensive runs saved and owns a +1.5 UZR. He has just three fielding errors this season, and five total at shortstop over the past two years. He also has 70⅔ innings of experience at second base, and 156 innings at third base. However, he has played exclusively shortstop since moving from Toronto to Miami in their mega-deal in November 2012.

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In my opinion, this deal is simply a way to improve infield defense now that rosters have expanded to 40 players. Hechavarría is definitely not the kind of move you make to cover up a setback to Didi Gregorius‘ heel bruise, but it’s a move that allows for plenty of quality infield depth. It also seems to indicate that Gio Urshela will remain with the RailRiders through their playoff push. It’s worth noting that Hechavarría has a .299/.319/.418 (99 wRC+) line in his career at Yankee Stadium, though that just seems to be one of those crazy baseball quirks.

The Yankees will now have a surplus of utility infielders, as Hechavarría will join Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade and Neil Walker as options off the bench.


It seems the Yanks are trying to push Ryan Bollinger off the 40-man roster for a second time, having outrighted him May 27 after a one day appearance on the active roster. He was added again July 31, though he was optioned to the minors the next day. I believe he can elect free agency in lieu of another outright assignment, though the Yankees will try to sneak him through waivers after designating him for assignment.

Yankees Acquire McCutchen from Giants for Avelino, De Paula

With Aaron Judge‘s wrist injury taking far longer than the original three-week recovery timetable, Brian Cashman has got the Yankees some badly needed outfield help. After clearing waivers August 22, the Bronx Bombers have acquired right fielder Andrew McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants for a package of Abiatal Avelino and Juan De Paula.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported the deal was gaining moment him, and Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the deal was done. McCutchen is a clear offensive upgrade over Shane Robinson in right field, and allows Neil Walker to return to his usual role as an infielder for the Yankees.

In his first (and only) season in San Francisco, the 2013 NL MVP was batting .255/.357/.415 (115 wRC+) with 15 homers and 55 RBI. Those numbers are, undoubtedly, affected by him playing his home games at AT&T Park, which is more pitcher friendly than PNC Park.  He’s been hot of late, batting .277/.404/.468 (140 wRC+) since August 15.

After a few seasons too many in center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Giants converted McCutchen to right field full-time in 2018. He’s made just two errors in right this season, and is worth +2 defensive runs saved. Ultimate Zone Rating has him at -0.9, which is just barely below average.

The Yankees are sending two prospects to San Francisco as they will be splitting the remaining financial commitment to McCutchen. It’s unclear when McCutchen will be activated by the Yankees, but I would guess he debuts in pinstripes after the September 1 roster expansion date.


Part of the group headed to San Francisco will be infield prospect Abiatal Avelino, ranked as the No. 23 prospect in the Yankees system. The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout early in the season with Double-A Trenton, but has slowed down offensively with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

His overall .287/.333/.446 line is quite impressive in 123 total games, but it is buoyed by a .337/.392/.553 line in 49 games for Double-A Trenton. His power and on-base skills have sort of vanished in the International League, where he’s hitting .252/.291/.372. He does have 25 stolen bases, and can play third, shortstop and second base. Avelino will be a minor league free agent after the season if he is not added to the 40-man roster, and is eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

The other piece in the deal is righty Juan De Paula, whom the Yankees acquired from Seattle in the Ben Gamel trade two years ago today. The 20-year-old was in his second straight season with Short-A Staten Island, pitching to a 1.71 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). De Paula was ranked as the team’s No. 26 prospect.

Yankees Sign Quintin Berry to MiLB Deal, Assign Him to SWB

A likely September call-up joins the organization ahead of the August 31 deadline.

The Yankees announced Monday afternoon that they signed pinch-runner extraordinaire Quintin Berry to a minor-league deal, and have assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Berry, a 33-year-old who was a fifth round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2006 draft, hit .258/.330/.354 in 94 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2007. That was the last time he played regularly in the big leagues, but appeared mostly in a pinch-running and late-inning defense role for the Red Sox in 2013, Orioles in 2014, Cubs in 2015 and Brewers in 2017. He’s appeared in 38 games in that span (all after Sept. 1), and has a .357/.400/.571 line (all hits came in 2013 for Boston). Berry has gone 8-for-10 in stolen base attempts since 2013.

The speedy outfielder re-signed with Milwaukee in the offseason, and played in 42 games for their Triple-A team, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the Pacific Coast League. Despite the PCL’s penchant for inflated batting lines, Berry batted just .214/.290/.321 (62 wRC+) with a 33.3% strikeout rate. He stole 10 bases in 11 attempts. The Brewers released him August 23, and he signed with the Yankees four days later.

Wearing No. 26, he debuted for the RailRiders that night in a 9-to-8 win over Lehigh Valley, pinch-running for Mike Ford in the top of the 10th inning and scoring on a Devyn Bolasky single.

Having someone like Berry on the roster will be incredibly valuable down the stretch, especially for the Yankees, who have been using Neil Walker out of position in right field for 11 starts so far. Berry is capable of providing fresh legs and competent defense to a Yankees outfield that has been brutally depleted by injuries all year.

White Sox 6, Yankees 2: Three Hits, Three Errors in Series-Opening Loss

THE BRONX – Monday night, the Yankees could only tally three hits and made three errors all while being unable to score even three runs as they fell in a 6-to-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

A Ronald Torreyes triple, Gleyber Torres two-run home run and Luke Voit single were the only knocks the Yanks could muster of a trio of White Sox pitchers. Meanwhile, on the defensive end, Voit, A.J. Cole and Shane Robinson each committed their first errors of the year, with each coming at a critical juncture.

Torreyes hit his triple in the third, but he ran on contact on a ground ball to shortstop hit by Aaron Hicks and was thrown out at the plate by Tim Anderson. Big Toe was at the center of another field rally in the seventh-inning, after leadoff walks to Torres and Neil Walker were wasted when Kyle Higashioka fouled out on a 3-1 pitch before Toe bounced into a killer 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Masahiro Tanaka took his fifth loss of the season, pitching seven innings on 98 pitches and allowing for earned runs on 10 hits and one walk. He recorded seven strikeouts, though his season ERA inflated to 3.97.

Tommy Kahnle made his seventh August appearance in the eighth inning, which marks his highest number of appearances in a single month this season. He recorded a scoreless inning with one strikeout. Cole, who seems to find himself working in increasingly high-leverage situations, allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit with one strikeout (unfortunately, there was a wild pitch and it allowed to run to score).

The Yankees need to win these games against bad teams like the White Sox, especially since the Red Sox are starting to hit a bit of a slide and the Yankees can gain some ground in the division. Losing happens, but it’s especially frustrating when losing happens on a night where you commit three errors against a team that came into last night’s game 28 games under .500.

What’s Next:

Lance Lynn (1-1, 3.81 ERA with NYY) looks to be a prize his stellar first start with the Yankees, which came August 6 in Chicago where he allowed just two hits and a walk through 7⅓ shutout innings. He’ll be facing well traveled veteran James Shields (5-15, 4.59 ERA), who will be making his 11th start at the new Yankee Stadium. He is 12-16 with a 4.08 ERA in 33 career starts against the Yankees.

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