Game 6 Recap: Yankees 3 Blue Jays 2

[caption id="attachment_80969" align="aligncenter" width="525"]Yankees Win vs TOR News being spread. Courtesy of the AP[/caption] The Yankees were a well-rested bunch heading north of the border for the first time this year for a meeting with the divisional rival Blue Jays.  The rainout on Sunday in Detroit made sure of that.  That extra day of rest meant Joe had the option of leaning on his lights out bullpen more if he needed to last night, and Joe didn't hesitate to do that when the opportunity presented itself.  The bullpen did what they've been doing: prevented runs, provided distance, protected leads, and struck guys out, and the Yankees took the first game of the series.

Joe was probably hoping he wouldn't have to ask a lot of his 'pen in ace Masahiro Tanaka's second start of the year.  Tanaka was pretty good in his first start, but a lack of pinpoint command on the corners and a careful approach with men on base drove his pitch count up and he didn't get through the 6th inning.  It was more of the same last night, as Tanaka racked up a lot of pitches early and only completed 5.

It started in the bottom of the 1st when he got 2 relatively quick outs before walking Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion on 13 pitches.  The Encarnacion at-bat was especially frustrating because Tanaka started him off with 2 swinging strikes and then never came close to putting him away on the next 4 pitches.  Tanaka survived the inning unscathed and worked around a leadoff walk in the second, but his command problems finally cost him in the 3rd, when a leadoff hit batsman in an 0-2 count turned into 2 Toronto runs on a Josh Donaldson single and Jose Bautista double.  To be fair to Tanaka, it was Jacoby Ellsbury's misread that allowed Bautista's double to be a double.  Not sure what he saw, but it was a bad play and it gave Toronto an extra run.

It took the Yankees a while to match that 2-spot against Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez.  They got a run in the top of the 2nd on a pair of walks and a ribbie groundout by Starlin Castro, but for the most part Sanchez was in control.  He was hitting spots with his fastball, drawing big swings and misses with his curveball, and working around trouble.  The only real mistake he made on the night was a 3-2 fastball to Brian McCann in the 6th that drifted over the middle of the plate.  McCann crushed it for a solo home run to right to tie the game and set the stage for Ellsbury's redemption.

Also credit the guys in front of him for their stage-setting performance as well.  Chase Headley welcomed Brett Cecil to the game with a leadoff single in the 7th, then Cecil conveniently walked Castro on 4 pitches.  This allowed Didi Gregorius to get down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up, and here came Ellsbury.  He drew a full count against Cecil and went the other way with a 3-2 fastball, getting just enough of it to plop it in between the shortstop and left fielder for the go-ahead single.  It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done and gave the bullpen the lead.

Oh yeah, the bullpen.  All they did was throw 4 scoreless, hitless innings with 5 strikeouts.  Barbato to Shreve to Betances to Miller.  These guys are good and the Yankees are too.  4-2 in their first 6 games with Big Mike returning to the hill tonight.

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Quick Hit: Rumbelow Needs TJS

Didn't get to this last night, but it appears as though we have our first significant arm injury of the year.  As first reported by Chad Jennings, Nick Rumbelow needs Tommy John Surgery in his right elbow and will miss the rest of this season.  The report was picked up by a bunch of other beat guys and later confirmed by GM Brian Cashman. Rumbelow was in the running for an Opening Day bullpen spot earlier in Spring Training.  He pitched to a 4.02/3.84/3.87 tripleslash in 17 big league appearances last year and figured to factor into the SWB shuttle at some point this season, although the Yankees had been experimenting with stretching him out as a starter after he was reassigned to MiL camp.  He made a relief appearance on Sunday and had to leave the game with an injury.  That injury was to his pitching elbow and it will require TJS.  Major bummer for Rumbelow.

Also a major bummer for the Yankees, who have lost another piece of relief depth.  They're already without Bryan Mitchell for at least the next 4 months and Aroldis Chapman for the next 24 games.  Now without Rumbelow they're down to Nick Goody and Branden Pinder as the only righty relievers left on the 40-man roster, along with lefties James Pazos, Jacob Lindgren, and Tyler Olson.

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Tuesday Morning Links: 4/12/16

The HR chick at my work is on vacation this week.  Before she left, she printed out a copy of the weather forecast for Riviera Maya for this week and taped it onto her office door as her way of letting everybody know she'll be out of the office.  It's the first thing I see when I turn the lights on in my section of the office in the morning and I honestly don't know if I can make it through that emotional gut punch for the next 3 days.  It's such a ruthless a-hole move that I can't decide if I love it or hate it, but I respect the hell out of it.  Now onto the links. - Last Tuesday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog laid out the 3 different scenarios that could play out this season depending on how healthy the Yankees stay.

- On Thursday, Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley looked back at the 5 longest home runs hit at the new Yankee Stadium before Carlos Correa's shot off the restaurant.

- On Friday, Katie Sharp of RAB dished out her first serving of Yankeemetrics this year.  Mmmmmmm, metrics...

- On Monday, Austin Yamada of BP Bronx reviewed the recent bad history (and bad luck) of Yankee 1st round picks.

- David Schoenfield asked if the Twins' season is already over after their 0-7 start.  I don't know if it is yet, but it definitely will be when they get done playing the Yankees for the first time.

From the IIATMS team:

- On Wednesday, Stacey broke down Masahiro Tanaka's Opening Day start.  I feel like we see 6+ innings of good ball today with the extra rest.

- On Thursday, I looked at the pitch location from Michael Pineda's first start and the high concentration of 2-strike pitches that were located inside the strike zone.  More than anything else, he needs to start correcting that problem.

Have a good day, folks.  Shout out to my fellow cube monkeys out there.  Stay strong.

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Fun with Numbers II, Or: He’s on-pace for what?!

A bit less than a year ago, I tackled some of the most interesting "on-pace for" lines throughout the Majors. It is an exercise in futility, given the fact that we are dealing with excruciatingly small sample sizes (to wit, the Yankees have 97% of their season remaining) - but it is fun nevertheless, as it gives us a glimpse into just how early it actually is, and the hilarious absurdity that we can see over a five or six game stretch. While every game certainly matters, and the counting stats are already booked, the odds of these numbers being representative of what we can expect going forward are incredibly remote. These projections are based on statistics that are current as of the morning of April 12, prior to any games being played. All numbers have been prorated to a full-ish season (650 PA for hitters, 33 starts for starting pitchers, current usage rate for relievers), and rounded where appropriate. And, again, this is just for fun. Let's start with a handful of Yankees.

Starlin Castro .450/.476/.850, 93 R, 62 HR, 247 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 15.5 fWAR

Didi Gregorius .333/.350/.500, 62 R, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 31 SB, 31 CS, 6.2 fWAR

Ronald Torreyes .800/.800/1.200, 260 R, 0 HR, 260 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 26.0 fWAR

Dellin Betances 97 G, 87 IP, 65 H, 65 BB, 194 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.10 FIP, 3.2 fWAR

Michael Pineda 33 GS, 165 IP, 264 H, 0 BB, 165 K, 10.80 ERA, 9.75 FIP, -6.6 fWAR

That's one hell of a bottom of the order, isn't it? And, yes, I know Torreyes isn't going to get anywhere near 650 PA (barring a series of unfortunate events the likes of which have never been seen) - but I find a great deal of humor in the fact that he's currently a career .545/.583/.818 hitter, and I'm trying to spread the gospel. There's something inherently likable about him; though, to be fair, I'm a sucker for utility players.

And I, for one, would not be shocked if Betances led the team in strikeouts. He was only 25 off the pace last season, after all.

Venturing outside of the Yankees, here are ten more from around the league:

Jose Altuve .286/.375/.429, 162 R, 20 HR, 41 RBI, 122 SB, 20 SB, 6.1 fWAR

Bryce Harper .313/.522/.813, 141 R, 57 HR, 85 RBI, 85 SB, 0 CS, 14.1 fwAR (and 198 BB/28 K)

Kendrys Morales .190/.208/.524, 54 R, 54 HR, 135 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 0.0 fWAR

Jorge Soler .130/.192/.261, 75 R, 25 HR, 75 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, -5.0 fWAR

Trevor Story .333/.357/1.111, 162 R, 162 HR, 278 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 16.2 fWAR

Eugenio Suarez .370/.433/.815, 195 R, 87 HR, 195 RBI, 22 SB, 0 CS, 13.0 fWAR

Jose Fernandez 33 GS, 187 IP, 165 H, 33 BB, 429 K, 7.94 ERA, 1.58 FIP, 9.9 fWAR

Martin Perez 33 GS, 204 IP, 149 H, 149 BB, 49 K, 3.65 ERA, 6.59 FIP, -3.3 fWAR

A.J. Ramos 65 G, 65 IP, 0 H, 130 BB, 34 K, 0.00 ERA, 8.35 FIP, -3.2 fWAR

Trevor Rosenthal 69 G, 77 IP, 46 H, 23 BB, 184 K, 0.00 ERA, -0.55 FIP, 11.5 fWAR

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Can CC Sabathia be 2013 Andy Pettitte?

The Detroit Tigers were about as bad a matchup on paper as CC Sabathia could have possibly gotten for his opening start of the 2016 season. Eight of the Tigers' nine batters were righties, including sluggers Justin Upton, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez. Sabathia's splits against righties and lefties were drastic last season with righties having a .370 wOBA against Sabathia compared to a .231 wOBA for lefites. The Yankees were desperate for a six inning start since neither of their first four starting pitchers achieved that. Since you can't predict baseball, Sabathia was able to do it as he allowed three earned runs over six innings, including retiring the first nine Detroit hitters. It was extremely clear that Sabathia was trying to reinvent himself as a new pitcher trying to follow what Andy Pettitte did with great success at the end of his career.

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Quick Hit: Don't Stress About The Rest

I mentioned this briefly in my game recap on Saturday night, but I wanted to go back and revisit Joe's decision to use Dellin Betances with a 4-run lead in the 8th inning of that game.  There were people asking why he would use Betances in that situation and some early chatter of concern on Twitter about Joe overusing him.  I honestly almost laughed out loud reading some of the comments. I tweeted this out yesterday morning, but if you're unfortunate enough to not follow me, I'll do it again here.  This was Dellin Betances' workload last week:

Monday- Did not pitch (rainout) Tuesday- 0.2 IP, 30 pitches Wednesday- Did not pitch Thursday- 1.0 IP, 13 pitches Friday- Did not pitch Saturday- 1.0 IP, 26 pitches Sunday- Did not pitch (rainout)

3 appearances, 2.2 innings pitched, 69 pitches thrown.  Now the rainouts certainly helped limit Betances' usage, but I would be willing to bet that Joe would have given Betances the night off anyway yesterday just in the interest of not using him back-to-back early when he threw 25+ pitches the game before.  Either way, Betances would have gotten another day off before going into today's scheduled off-day, which Joe surely knew he had available to rest his bullpen.  5 off-days and 3 days of work.  That's not a very strenuous schedule for the first week of the regular season.  For the sake of comparison, Betances pitched 4.1 innings in 4 appearances and threw 95 pitches over the first week of last season.  None of those appearances were back-to-back either.

The point here is that it is foolish to start getting worked up about Betances' workload and whether he's getting enough rest in the first week of the season.  He's had plenty of rest and Joe hasn't been working him too hard.  Had Betances not walked the yard and thrown the ball away on Opening Day, he wouldn't have had to throw so many pitches.  Joe gave him a day off after that outing and he'll have 2 days off after a 25+ pitch outing on Saturday.  He's fine.

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Tonight's game has been postponed

Thanks to Mother Nature acting like it's February instead of April, tonight's game in Detroit has been postponed. The makeup date is July 28 according to Marly Rivera. So now the Yankees have two off days before starting their series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday and that's a good thing for everyone, I think.

Game 5 Recap: Yankees 8 Tigers 4

[caption id="attachment_80934" align="aligncenter" width="525"]A-Rod HR vs DET Courtesy of the AP[/caption] Somehow the Yankees and Tigers managed to forge on in the sub-arctic temperatures this afternoon, though clearly the Yankees were better equipped to win in those inhuman weather conditions.  They jumped out to an early lead, built a big cushion on one key swing, and used that cushion to make it comfortably to the finish.

The early lead came off of Detroit starter Mike Pelfrey, who really didn't have much today.  Alex Rodriguez drove a 3-2 sinker into deep left field for a solo home run, his first of the year, to get the scoring started in the top of the 1st.  Didi Gregorius singled home Brian McCann with 2 outs in the 2nd to make it 2-0, and then that key swing came in the bottom of the 4th.

McCann got things started with a 1-out walk, back-to-back singles by Carlos Beltran and Starlin Castro loaded the bases, and a Didi sac fly plated McCann again to make it 3-0.  Ronald Torreyes singled on the infield to reload the bases, and the lineup turned over for a third time.  Jacoby Ellsbury was 0-2 on the day coming into his third at-bat, but he got a 1-0 sinker from Pelfrey that didn't sink and he laced it into the right-center field gap to clear the bases and double the lead to 6-0.  It ended Pelfrey's day and gave the Yankee pitching staff all the breathing room it would need.

CC Sabathia was the anchor of the staff today, making his first start of 2016 and trying to build off his strong finish to last season.  He sat down the Tigers in order over the first 3 innings and looked like the kind of lower-velocity pitcher we always hoped he'd become.  He was mixing all his pitches well, he was getting ahead in the count locating down in the strike zone, and generating a lot of weak contact that his defense easily handled.

Sabathia did get into trouble in the 4th and 5th, however, and the Tigers got 2 runs back in the 4th on a trio of walks and a 2-run single by James McCann.  CC wasn't as sharp out of the stretch as he was in the first 3 innings, but he did a good job of limiting the damage to 2 and became the first Yankee starter to successfully navigate the 6th when he went 1-2-3 on the middle of the Tiger order.  Not a bad way for the old workhorse to get his year started.

The brief Tiger rally in the 4th was snuffed out by a monster Beltran home run in the top of the 5th and even a messy 7th inning wasn't enough to cause anybody to break a sweat.  Joe went for the sure win by using Dellin Betances in the 8th and Andrew Miller in the 9th and they responded as they normally do.  The Yankees evened the series and have their ace on the mound tomorrow night as they look to go 2-2 in series wins.

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Quick hit: Nick Swisher's back with the Yanks

While it's only a minor league deal, old friend Nick Swisher is returning to the Yankees organization. Per Chad Jennings:

Nick Swisher is working out at the Yankees minor league complex. Team anticipates signing minor league deal as DH/1B/OF depth.

Swisher's contract pays him $15M this year, all but the minimum will be paid for by the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. Presumably this puts some pressure on Dustin Ackley, but unless Swish hits, it's just a trip down memory lane.

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