It is currently unknown who will for sure be in the Yankees bullpen beyond the recently signed Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Tyler Clippard, but there is one pitcher who pitched well in his two months with the team last season who should be a relief pitcher again.
Adam Warren should be in the bullpen instead of the rotation this season because the Yankees inability to get the back end of the bullpen many times last year proved how much they need a strong middle relief. Right now on the official depth chart on the Yankees website they have him as a rotation candidate, which means that he will go into spring training as a candidate for one of the two open spots in the rotation.
Warren was selected by the Yankees in the 4th round of the 2009 draft as a starting pitcher out of the University of North Carolina. He pitched in the minors from 2009-2011, spent the 2012 season with Triple-A Scranton except for 2.1 innings with the Yankees and then spent the 2013 through 2015 seasons with the Yankees.
The 6-1, 29-year-old, who was born in Birmingham had his most successful season in 2014 when he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. He had an impressive 2.97 ERA in 69 games (78.2 innings) in 2014 with a 1.106 WHIP, 76 strikeouts, 24 walks, 23 holds and three saves. He showed he could excel in multiple roles in the bullpen, and improved his stats from the previous year when he was not a starting pitcher for the first time.
In 2015, the righty threw a career-high 131.1 innings since 17 of his 43 appearances were as a starting pitcher. Warren ended up starting the season in the rotation and then was moved back to his bullpen at the end of June. He ended the 2015 season with a solid 3.29 ERA in his 43 games with a very good 1.16 WHIP, a 2.8 WAR, 104 strikeouts, 39 walks and 10 homers allowed. These are solid overall stats but they were improved by the games he pitched in relief.
He made 14 starts to begin the season (and three from the middle to end of September) and had a 3.59 ERA those appearances, which is a quality ERA and about equals that of a No. 3 or 4 starter, but the Yankees have other younger candidates for the No. 4 and 5 spots in the rotation who are capable of that ERA. He has also proven that he can excel in the bullpen as he did last season when he returned to the Yankees.
Before the 2016 season, Warren and Brendan Ryan were traded to the Cubs for Starlin Castro. This was a great trade overall for the Yankees because Castro played well as he had a .270 average, a .734 OPS, 21 homers, 70 RBI, 29 doubles and 156 hits in his first full season as a second baseman, and the Yankees got Warren back at the trade deadline when they traded Chapman to the Cubs.
General Manager Brian Cashman wanted Warren back because even though he had struggled with the Cubs he knew he had pitched well under Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild in the past and he thought he would improve the bullpen after trading away Chapman and Andrew Miller.
When interviewed after being traded back to the Yankees, Warren blamed not really knowing his role with the Cubs for his subpar performance. It could also be that reuniting with Rothschild helped him pitch like he had in previous seasons. In 29 games with the Cubs, Warren made one start, threw 35 innings, had a 5.91 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP and had 27 strikeouts and 19 walks, which is a high strikeout to walk ratio.
However, after coming to the Yankees just before the trade deadline, his performance was much better than it was during his 29 games with the Cubs. He pitched in 29 games with the Yankees in the last two months (30.1 innings) and had an improved 3.26 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 0.4 WAR, six holds, four wins, 25 strikeouts, 10 walks and 11 earned runs compared to 23 with Chicago.
He makes sense for middle relief because of his drastic improvement in the last two months of this season helping to make the bullpen a strength when it was an unknown after losing Miller and Chapman. In some ways having a very effective middle relief can be just as important as a dominant closer because if the lead is blown in the 7th or 8th the closer will not pitch in the game.
Tyler Clippard is another pitcher who was not on the Yankees in the first half of the season but excelled with the Yankees in August and September. With the Diamondbacks in 40 games last season he had a 4.30 ERA but with the Yankees in 29 games he produced more like he did when he was an All-Star in 2014 as he had a 2.49 ERA with 26 strikeouts in his second tour with the Yankees.
It is likely but somewhat of an unknown if Clippard and Warren can both produce like they did towards the end of the season, which is why Warren should be in the bullpen. Unless the Yankees acquire an established middle relief pitcher, which seems unlikely, everyone in the bullpen besides Chapman, Betances and Clippard would be in their 1st or 2nd year.
It would be ideal to have Warren in the bullpen and only moved to the rotation in an emergency because that is where he is most valuable. If Warren is in the bullpen once again then the team’s bullpen can be top three in the league and will be a definite strength. The UNC product combining with Clippard to pitch the 7th would mean that young pitchers like Johnny Barbato, Chasen Shreve and Nick Goody’s role wouldn’t be as important.
According to Brooks Baseball, Warren relied on his fourseam fastball (93 mph) and slider (88 mph), while also mixing in a circle change (85 mph), knuckle curve (80 mph) and sinker (93 mph) this season. Many relief pitchers use a fastball and slider but his ability to throw three more pitchers makes him different.
The Yankees defeated the Chicago White Sox in a nail-bitter, 2-1, as Alex Rodriguez’s RBI double in the sixth inning that scored Chase Headley ended up being the game-winning run for the home team.
Adam Warren only allowed one run on three hits and three walks in his six innings pitched while helping the Yankees get one win closer to clinching a playoff berth. He only needed 88 pitches to get through his six innings, got an inning ending double play in the first and retired the side in order in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings.
The only run that Warren allowed was a single to right field by Jose Abreu that scored Adam Eaton in the first inning. The White Sox were 0-2 in their other at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Yankees are currently four games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East with eight games left in the season, which means that the Yankees are virtually assured of playing in the one-game wild card playoff. The Yankees are 4.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros for the first wild card spot, which means that there is basically a 99 percent chance that they will host the one-game playoff.
It is not known who they will play for the right to advance to the ALDS because the Astros only have a half a game lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the second wild card spot. The Minnesota Twins still have a slim chance as they are 1.5 games behind the Astros. Minnesota would be the best matchup for the Yankees, but that is not very likely at this point.
The Yankees bullpen could not have been any better as Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller combined to pitch three innings and not allow any hits. They each pitched one inning and Wilson struck out two while recording his 28th hold, Betances got through the eighth while only having to throw eight pitches and lowering his ERA to an outstanding 1.36 and Miller struck out two to help him pick up his 36th save of the season in his first year as a closer.
“If I go out there and have a clean seventh, Dellin wants to do something better than I did, and the same for Andrew. We feed off each other, and it’s kind of like a brotherhood,” Wilson said. “With Dellin behind me and Andrew behind him, of course it breeds confidence.”
As a result of Wilson’s two strikeouts and Miller’s two strikeouts, the Yankees bullpen has now struck out an AL-record 573 batters, which is two more than the record that the Yankees relievers set last year.
The other run that the Yankees scored also came in the sixth inning when Chase Headley hit a ground rule double to left center to score Jacoby Ellsbury. Earlier in Headley’s at-bat, Ellsbury stole second to allow him to score on that ground rule double.
Luis Severino, who only allowed two runs and three hits in six innings in his previous outing, will get the start during today’s 1:05 p.m. game against the White Sox. He has a very good 3.10 ERA in his nine starts and has only allowed more than two earned runs twice.
Dustin Ackley will get the start at second base after rookie Rob Refsnyder had played the previous three games at second. In those three games, Refsnyder has four hits in eight at-bats with one double. He now has a .273 average in his 22 at-bats this season.
“We’ve liked the way he’s swung the bat and defensively he’s done a good job, so I’ll continue to give him more opportunities,” Joe Girardi said.
In the first game of their four-game series in Houston against the Astros, the Yankees were shutout 4-0 after a gem by Dallas Keuchel. The Astros ace pitched his third complete game of the season and recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts.
Keuchel lowered his ERA to 2.17, which is third best in the American League, and he lowered his WHIP to 0.96, which is the second best WHIP in the AL. His command of all four of his pitches, in addition to changing speeds, kept the Yankees off balance during the whole game. He only allowed six hits and one walk & retired the side in order in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th innings.
The ninth inning was the only inning that the Yankees were able to get a runner into scoring position against Keuchel. After Keuchel retired Chris Young and Chase Headley, Alex Rodriguez singled, Mark Teixeira walked & then Carlos Beltran hit a single past third baseman Luis Valbuena’s glove to load the bases. However, with the bases loaded and a chance to drive in two or more runs, Jose Pirela grounded out to third to end the game.
“He (Keuchel) stays done in the zone, attacks all night, he just pitched well,” Joe Girardi said. “The guys were looking for a pitch and if they got a pitch early they were trying to hit it, and that didn’t work too well. I thought he might make a change but he is their ace so they let him go.”
Adam Warren pitched well overall in what was likely his last start before being moved to the bullpen. Warren allowed two earned runs (three overall) in 5.2 innings before Chris Capuano came on in relief. However, it did not help that Stephen Drew and John Ryan Murphy both had an error while Warren was pitching. Warren had a throwing error that allowed Evan Gattis to advance to third before being taken out of the game, but Capuano got Preston Tucker out to end the sixth.
“He (Warren) pitched really well again tonight,” Girardi said. “He has been consistent and it’s too bad we didn’t score him some runs tonight.”
For the Astros, Jose Altuve was 3-3 with three runs scored, Gattis was 2-4 with two RBIs, Colby Rasmus was 1-2 with an RBI and Tucker’s opposite field double to the wall off of Warren in the second drove in the Astros first run. The only run that the Astros scored off of Capuano was Gattis’s double that sent Altuve home in the eighth.
The Yankees hit zero extra-base hits for the fifth time this season. Brett Gardner (.292 with 55 runs scored), who was out of the lineup on Thursday after having gone 16-32 in his previous seven games, is back in center field tonight. Gardner has scored six runs over his last three games and will look to be the same spark at the top of the lineup that he has been the past few weeks.
Brian McCann is also back in the lineup after getting a routing game off like Gardner on Thursday. McCann has a .328 average with three homers and 12 RBIs in June and has had a much better start to the season than he did in his first season as a Yankee. McCann is also coming into the game with a five-game hitting streak with five RBIs in that span, so he will be one of the hitters that the Yankees will count on to drive in runs.
Nathan Eovaldi (4.95 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees tonight and Vincent Valasquez will take the mound for Houston. Valasquez (4.15 ERA), whose three starts in June were the first three of his career, didn’t pitch more than five innings in any of those starts. He allowed five earned runs in his second start but threw a shutout in five innings against the White Sox in his third start.
Eovaldi pitched very well in his previous start against the Detroit Tigers as he limited them to two earned runs on three hits in 6 innings. He had success because he commanded and located his secondary pitches.
Beltran will be the DH tonight since Rodriguez will be getting the night off. Rodriguez, who could come into the game as a pinch hitter, is on a nine-game hitting streak with five multi-hit games in that span.
His average was .267 before the hitting streak started and it is now a solid .289. A-Rod has performed better than anyone could have expected to this point and the Yankees would not be 1.5 games out of first in the AL East without him. He is tied for 13th in the AL with his 44 RBIs, is tied for eighth in the AL with his 15 homers and is tied for 12 in the league with 42 runs scored.
Tonight’s game will begin at 8:10 EST and can be seen on the YES Network.
After winning the final game of their series at home against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Yankees (39-33) will play the first game of their four-game series in Houston against the Astros tonight at 8:10 p.m. EST. The Astros, whose 42-32 record is better than anyone could have predicted, lead the American League in homers (107) and are third in slugging percentage and total bases.
Adam Warren will start the first game of the series against the Astros. This could be his last start before going back to the bullpen because Joe Girardi said that he didn’t think the six-man rotation will go past the series against the Angels. Warren, who has a solid 5-4 record with a 3.62 ERA in 13 starts this season, has allowed three runs or less in his previous eight starts.
In Warren’s last start, he had his best performance of the season as he pitched a season-high eight innings while allowing two earned runs and striking out a season-high seven batters. However, he was not as effective in his start on June 14 since he only threw 4.2 innings while allowing three walks, six hits and three earned runs on 92 pitches. He has been an asset to the rotation to this point of the season, and can definitely give the Yankees another quality start against the Astros, but with Ivan Nova’s return he will be more valuable as an impact reliever in the bullpen.
Dallas Keuchel, who is the Astros ace and will get the start tonight, is a lefty who has an 8-3 record with an outstanding 2.35 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. His 2.35 ERA is third in the American League, his pitching WAR is tied for third in the AL and his 0.98 WHIP is tied for second in the AL.
His home ERA (1.62) is much better than his road ERA (3.14), but he has struggled in his previous two starts as he has allowed five and three earned runs, respectively. In his last start, Keuchel gave up a season-high three homers and three walks in his start in Seattle against the Mariners.
Brett Gardner is 16-32 (.500) in his last seven games with 12 runs scored, four homers, 10 RBIs. He is having the best month of his season as those outstanding numbers in the last week have given him a .326 average in June with a .607 slugging percentage, six doubles, 24 runs scored and 17 RBIs. His 55 runs scored are third in the American League and his 15 steals are tied for second in the AL.
Gardner has the game off tonight even though he has hit so well over the last seven games. Joe Girardi has given him the night off because Keuchel is lefty and Gardner has a .239 average against southpaws this season. Gardner has also started every game since May 16 and not had the game off since May 6 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees activated Stephen Drew from the paternity list today and recalled middle infielder Gregorio Petit from Triple-A Scranton. These moves complete their 25-man roster and will mean that the Yankees will have a back-up middle infielder and that Garrett Jones will be the only true back-up outfielder. Jacoby Ellsbury is close to returning from the disabled list, which means that Chris Young will return to his back-up role.
The Yankees lineup will be less powerful than normal because Girardi has also decided to give Brian McCann the night off against the lefty starter. McCann is hitting .421 with two homers and five RBIs in the last seven days and has a .328 (20-61) average with 12 RBIs in June. Jose Pirela, whose best position is second base, will replace Gardner in the outfield.
Here is the lineup for tonight’s game:
Chris Young CF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran RF
Jose Pirela LF
John Ryan Murphy C
Stephen Drew SS
Gregorio Petit 2B
The Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday night, 8-2, for their fifth consecutive win and second straight in the series. Everything went right for the Yankees as they scored six runs in the first inning and Adam Warren allowed two runs or less for his fourth consecutive start.
Warren pitched 6.2 innings and allowed two runs on four hits. He had three walks, two strikeouts and lowered his ERA from 3.75 to 3.64. He started the game pitching very well as he retired the first nine batters that he faced.
“I felt good,” Warren said. “I was mixing pitches well and hitting my spots. The defense as a whole was great tonight.”
Warren has been able to pitch more than six innings in each of his last five starts after not doing so in his previous five. “I’m more comfortable now going deeper into the game,” Warren said. “I feel good about where I am at right now.”
Brian McCann was 2-5 with a home run that drove in Alex Rodriguez in the first inning. McCann now has nine homers and 35 RBIs and could be on his way to playing in the All-Star Game. He added after the game that he was impressed with how Warren pitched and with the quality of his pitches.
“His makeup is off the charts,” McCann said. “He has four quality pitches.”
Besides McCann’s two-run homer in the first, Mark Teixeira hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Brett Gardner, Chase Headley scored on a wild pitch by Garrett Richards and Gardner singled to right center to score Carlos Beltran and Didi Gregorius. In the second inning, Beltran single to right center scored Teixeira to give the Yankees a 7-0 lead.
Warren did well pitching with the lead since he didn’t let the Angels score any runs until the fifth inning. He was much better than the Richards, who had a very good 3.26 ERA before the game, since the Angles starter didn’t even make it out of the first inning.
Gregorius, who went 2-4 with a run scored, has his average up to .236 and has four multi-hit games in his last six games. He has improved at the plate compared to earlier in the season.
The Yankees play on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. at CC Sabathia will get the start. In his previous start he pitched a solid 5.2 innings while allowing two earned runs and striking out six. He has a 2.57 ERA in his last two starts against the Angels.
The Yankees (26-25) lost to the Oakland Athletics by the score of 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum. That was their third loss in four games to the worst team in the American League.
The Yankees, who are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East, struggled on the road during the month of May. The team played 19 games away from Yankees Stadium and they came away with a loss in 12 of those games and overall they went 13 and 16 during the second month of the season.
Adam Warren pitched 7.0 innings and this was his fourth consecutive start that he pitched more than 6.0 innings but the offense was not able to do its part to get him his fourth win of the season. Warren, whose ERA is now a solid 3.75 after it was a much higher 4.78 on May 3, only allowed allowed two runs in seven innings while recording four strikeouts. He has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last three starts and deserves to stay in the rotation when Masahiro Tanaka comes off of the disabled list (this might not happen because the team needs help in the bullpen).
However, the home run proved to be Warren’s weakness once again. In the sixth inning, after Warren had retired the side in order in the fifth inning, Stephen Vogt hit a homer to drive in Billy Burns to give the Athletics a 2-0 lead. Vogt’s 11th homer of the season barely made it over the wall in right. That was the only hit the Athletics had with runners in scoring position in seven chances, but it ended up being costly for the Yankees.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Warren said. “I feel like I have given the team a chance to win.”
The Yankees had eight hits, which is as many as the Athletics had, but they were not able to score a run because they were 0-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base. Brett Gardner was 0-4, Carlos Beltran was 0-3 after having two hits and three RBIs on Saturday and John Ryan Murphy was 0-3 with two strikeouts.
The only highlights offensively were Didi Gregorius and Alex Rodriguez. Gregorius had two hits in three at-bats and is on a modest three-game hitting streak. Rodriguez, who was 2-4 and is on a 10-game hitting streak, is now only 14 hits away from tying Roberto Clemente and becoming the 29th baseball player with 3,000 hits. When Rodriguez gets his next hit he will have 2,987 and will have tied Sam Rice for 29th place on the all-time list.
A notable highlight from a personal standpoint happened in the second inning as Ramon Flores had his first major-league hit. The Yankees had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the second, but Jose Pirela hit a hard line drive to second for a double play. In the fifth inning, Gardner also grounded into a double play. Pirela hit a single during the game in addition to his hard line drive and deserves more of a chance at second since Stephen Drew has a .157 average.
“Pirela swung the bat well today,” Joe Girardi said. “We will continue to evaluate and go from there. We were not able to do much after the second inning. We have been streaky. You turn the page and then get ready for Seattle.”
Brian McCann, who had an 8-game hitting streak coming into the game, pinch hit in the ninth inning and struck out on a changeup to end the game. The Yankees were shutout for the second time this season.
The Yankees will now play a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. The Mariners are in fourth place in the AL West with a 24-26 record. The first game of the series, which will be played at 10:10 p.m. EST, will be a marquee pitching matchup between aces Felix Hernandez (8-1, 1.91) and Michael Pineda (6-2, 3.36). Tanaka will make his anticipated return from the disabled list during the series.
Here are the rest of the pitching matchups for the series:
LHP CC Sabathia (2-7, 5.67)
10:10 p.m., YES Network
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 3.22)
RHP Taijuan Walker (2-5, 6.18)
3:40 p.m., YES Network
The Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 on Tuesday to extend their winning streak to two games. They have two consecutive wins against the Royals, who are in first place in the AL Central with a 28-17 record, after previously being swept at home by the Texas Rangers, who had an 18-23 record before their three-game series (they are now 23-23).
Adam Warren only allowed one run on two hits in his 6.1 innings pitched. Joe Girardi took him out after only throwing 88 pitches. He threw an impressive 62 of his 88 pitches for strikes and this time Girardi’s decision to go to the bullpen when the starter was still pitching well worked. Warren had five strikeouts, including the dangerous Eric Hosmer twice, and retired the side in order in the first, second, third and fifth innings.
“Warren is pitching as well as anyone in our rotation right now,” Girard said after the game. His ERA is now down to a respectable 3.91 and he has been one of the best pitchers in the American League over his last three starts. In his last three starts, Warren has pitched 19.2 innings while only allowing six runs and striking out 16 batters. He deserves to stay in the rotation instead of Chris Capuano when Masahiro Tanaka comes off of the disabled list.
Girardi didn’t say that Warren will definitely remain in the rotation when Tanaka is ready to come off of the disabled list, but he did say that there is a possibility of him doing so.
“I think you see where you’re at as a ballclub and what your needs are,” Girardi said. Girardi doesn’t like to commit to anything ahead of time, but he will probably go with Warren because he will give the team a better chance to win than Capuano (7.36 ERA in two starts).
Carlos Beltran extended his hitting streak to 14 games with his single to left in the fourth inning. He is proving that he does have something left offensively after not doing anything the first month of the season. Beltran can’t field like he used to because he can’t run, which makes it necessary to put a back-up outfielder in the game for him in about the seventh inning.
Mark Teixeira was the offensive star of the game for the Yankees as he was 2-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs. He hit a two-run homer in the first inning that scored Alex Rodriguez and then hit a double to right center that scored Rodriguez and Chris Young in the fifth inning. This was Teixeira’s second four RBI game of the season. He is fully healthy this season as he has 14 homers and 35 RBIs already after hitting 22 homers and driving in 62 runs all of last season.
Dellin Betances pitched the eighth inning and struck out all three batters that he faced. Betances got Salvador Perez, Omar Infante and Paulo Orlando all to strike out swinging. Betances is pitching like the All-Star he was last season and has remarkably retired the last 28 batters that he has faced. After perfect inning on Tuesday, he had 38 strikeouts and 25 innings pitched and had not allowed a singled earned run.
Their win over the Royals gave the Yankees a 24-22 record and a half a game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the mediocre American League East.