On Tuesday, the Yankees re-signed left-hander Chris Capuano to a one-year, $5 million contract. He is a 36-year-old journeyman who has previously pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox.
Capuano was an All-Star in 2006 with the Brewers when he finished the season with 11 wins, a 4.03 ERA, 174 strikeouts and only 47 walks, but he has mostly been a mediocre pitcher throughout his career. He has been a somewhat reliable back-end of the rotation starter, and has served as a reliever in the 2013, 2013 and 2014 seasons. Capuano has a 76-87 record, a 4.28 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP, 1.134 strikeouts, 426 walks and has allowed 183 homers in 10 seasons.
While pitching for the Mets in 2011, Capuano had a very high 4.55 ERA while making 33 appearances and 31 starts. In 2013, which was the last season that he made most of his appearances as a starter, he had a 4.26 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 24 walks for the Dodgers. Further adding to his mediocrity, this past season, he had a 4.55 ERA in 28 relief appearances for the Red Sox, and after he was designated for assignment, he had a 4.25 ERA in 12 starts (65.2 innings) with the Yankees.
In a surprising decision, General Manager Brian Cashman all but declared that Capuano would have a spot in the rotation to begin the season. “He’s coming in as one of our starters,” Cashman said. This means that as of now their rotation will be Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Capuano. Ivan Nova should be back from Tommy John surgery by June and until then the internal options for the final spot include Adam Warren, David Phelps, Bryan Mitchell, Chase Whitley and Jose De Paula. If in the rotation, Capuano makes the most sense as the number 5 starter.
Cashman is still saying that they don’t have plans to enter the bidding for Max Scherzer because of the money and years attached to him. However, this could still change come the end of January as that was when they signed Tanaka last year.
Many of the number 3 starters or better have already been traded for or signed by teams, so it is looking like Cashman will either come out of left field with an offer for Scherzer that he can’t refuse, or be content to go into spring training with the starters currently on the roster. It will not be a successful offseason if Cashman doesn’t add another starter.
Capuano is a pitcher who can be relied upon to be a workhorse that offers depth and versatility. His main attribute is that he eats up innings as he has thrown more than 186 innings four times in his career. He pitched six innings or more in eight of his 12 starts with the Yankees. However, proving his inconsistency is that he allowed four earned runs during two out of his three starts where he had more than five strikeouts.
They are not making much of an investment in him as it is only a one-year contract, but it did come as a surprise that Cashman already said that he is one of the starters in the rotation. However, this could change in spring training if a pitcher like Manny Banuelos or Mitchell really emerges.
Capuano, who was drafted in the 8th round of the 1999 draft, is a finesse pitcher who relies on his unorthodox delivery. He throws his fastball in the mid to upper 80s. The crafty lefty features a changeup and a slider, and his excellent pickoff move helped him lead the major leagues in that category with 12 in 2005.
The Yankees lost 1-0 in their game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night at Tropicana Field. Their offense has been anemic recently since it was their fourth time being shutout in their last 11 games. With yesterday’s loss, the Yankees officially can’t win the American League East.
For the Yankees, the theme this year has been an inability to score runs, and the Yankees have only scored six runs combined in their previous five games. This includes Monday’s shutout, a shutout against the Orioles last Friday and a game where they only scored one run in the first game of their doubleheader on Friday. They had an outside chance at getting the second wild card before going 1-4 in their last five games, but it will now be virtually impossible to make up six games with 13 games to play.
“For whatever reason, we’re not hitting,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s frustrating. Eventually I think it’s got to turn, but it better turn pretty quickly here.”
Tampa Bay starter Alex Colome and Yankees starter Chris Capuano both did not allow a run. Colome allowed six hits and a walk in 6.2 innings, but Ichiro Suzuki’s double in the seventh was the only extra base hit that Colome allowed. Brian McCann flied out to center with runners on first and second to end the seventh.
The Yankees had Mark Teixeira on third and Carlos Beltran on second with one out in the second inning but Ichiro popped out to the shortstop and John Ryan Murphy flied out to right. That was their best opportunity to score while Colome was pitching, but the season-long struggle with runners in scoring position continued.
Brett Gardner, who was 0-4, said that the Yankees continued the trend of struggling to score. “Same story, we have been pitching really well, but it has just been hard for us to score runs,” Gardner said. “We have had flashes of being pretty good, but for the most part, we have just struggled to get guys across the plate, and it is frustrating because with all the injuries that we have had to our rotation the guys that have come up and come in from other places have really stepped up.”
Capuano had his second start with the Yankees where he allowed zero earned runs. He pitched six innings, walked four batters and only allowed two hits. Girardi took him out of the game after throwing 101 pitches. Capuano easily should have had his second win as a Yankee, but the Yankees were held scoreless by a Rays starter who was making only his second start of the season. Four Rays relief pitchers held the Yankees hitless over the final 2.1 innings, and Joel Paralta got the win as a result of Ben Zobrist‘s walk-off.
It was a questionable decision by Girardi to pitch Shawn Kelley in the ninth instead of Dellin Betances, and that decision did end up backfiring. Matt Joyce’s walk after James Loney and Logan Forsythe hit singles earlier in the inning loaded the bases with two outs. Zobrist, who is in his ninth season playing with the Rays, hit his walk-off passed Ichiro in right for the game-winning hit.
It is almost a fitting “ending” to the Yankees season that Martin Prado, who was a key trade deadline acquisition and really helped the offense before his injury, will miss the rest of the season because he had an appendectomy and had surgery on Tuesday. He had a .316 average with seven homers and 16 RBIs since being acquired via trade from Arizona on July 31. He has two years left on his contract and will likely be the team’s second baseman for the next two seasons.
The starters for the middle game of the three-game set will be Michael Pineda for the Yankees and Jake Odorizzi for the Rays. Pineda will look to rebound from his worst start of his season where he allowed four runs and 10 hits in 7.1 innings against the Rays on September 11. Besides that start, Pineda has allowed two runs or less in his nine other starts this season.
After losing two out of three games to the Detroit Tigers and then two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees will now play their last series at home against the Boston Red Sox. This will be Derek Jeter’s final series at home against the rival Red Sox before ending the season with three games in Boston.
The Yankees will have to sweep the Red Sox to have a chance at having those three games to end the season be meaningful. They still have a slim chance at getting the second wild-card spot as they are currently four games behind the Detroit Tigers with 27 games to play. They are tied with the Cleveland Indians and are 2.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners.
Boston comes into this series having lost six of their last 10 games. They have a negative 74 run differential and a drastically different rotation than they had in the middle of July. Jon Lester, Jake Peavy and John Lackey were all traded before the trade deadline as the Red Sox tried to rebuild their roster for next season. This has left their rotation filled with rookies and inexperienced pitchers besides the experienced Clay Bucholz. Also, their offense has struggled much more than it did last season since they have scored the 25th fewest runs in all of baseball and their .243 average is in 25th place in the league.
The Yankees, who also have a negative run differential despite their 70-65 record, are on pace to be the first team in major-league history to post back-to-back winning seasons while being outscored by at least 20 runs in each season. They currently have a negative 27 run differential, which means that their opposition has outscored them by 27 runs. A negative run differential would suggest that a team would be under .500, which proves that Joe Girardi has led the Yankees to actually overachieve as a result of all of their pitching injuries and offensive ineffectiveness.
Part of the reason that the Yankees have the record that the do the past two seasons despite their negative run differential is that they are 92-60 in games decided by two runs or less. That is the best record in Major League Baseball over the last two seasons. It helps that the bullpen has been a strength this season and last season.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who played for the Red Sox the previous seven seasons and was an All-Star once, has been the best offensive player in the Yankees lineup since August 24. Since the game on the 24th, he has 13 hits in 24 at-bats (.542), six runs scored, four homers, nine RBIs and three steals. Ellsbury sprained his angle when he was sliding into home during Friday’s win against the Blue Jays. He missed Saturday’s game and then was only able to pinch-hit on Sunday.
“It’s still sore, but over the last couple of days, they’re real happy with the progress that I’ve made,” Ellsbury said. “We’ve got the off-day, but I’ll get the MRI tonight and have our doctors look at it. Hopefully it’s a good MRI.” The Yankees, who only scored two runs combined in the last two games against the Blue Jays, need Ellsbury back in the lineup.
The Yankees should have the advantage in the series since they have better starting pitchers and if Ellsbury is back he should be able to help them beat his former team. The Red Sox offense has scored six runs combined in their last three games. Here are the pitching matchups for the series against the Red Sox.
Tonight at 7:05 p.m. on YES
RHP Shane Greene (4-1, 3.09 ERA)
RHP Joe Kelly (0-1, 3.86 ERA with Boston)
Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. on YES
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (9-8, 3.88 ERA)
Anthony Renaudo (3-0, 4.50 ERA)
Thursday at 7:05 p.m. on YES
LHP Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.24 ERA)
Allen Webster (3-3, 6.69 ERA)
Webster will be making his 15th career start and Renaudo will be making his fourth start of his career. Kelly came to the Red Sox in the trade that sent Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals, and he had made 36 starts since 2012 with the Cardinals before the trade.
After losing two out of three games to the Tigers at Comerica Park, the Yankees will start a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays on Friday. The Yankees are now three games behind both the Tigers and Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot.
The Yankees had an opportunity to win the third game, as Hiroki Kuroda only allowed two runs in seven innings pitched, but the offense was only 1-4 with runners in scoring position. Brian McCann grounded into a double play in the second with with Mark Teixeira on first. Their first run came on a Jacoby Ellsbury single to center that scored Zelous Wheeler.
They scored one run in the fourth but were in position to tack on a few more. After Carlos Beltran’s double, the Yankees had runners on second and third with one out, but McCann had an RBI ground out and then Chase Headley grounded out to third. The Yankees could have scored three or more runs if McCann had hit a double and then Headley hit a single.
After Dellin Betances recorded two out of three outs in the eighth inning via the strikeout, Shawn Kelley pitched the ninth and allowed the Tigers to get a walk-off win. Kelley struck out two batters in a row with runners on first and second and the score tied at two, but Alex Avila had the game-winning single. The Yankees would have won the game with more offensive production. The anemic offense cost Hiroki Kuroda another win and prevented the team from gaining ground on the Mariners and Tigers.
The Yankees will look to rebound against the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Yankees, who have a 69-63 record, are currently 2.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays in the wild-card standings. Toronto comes into the series having lost six of their last nine games. Here are the pitching matchups for the series that the Yankees have to win in Toronto:
Friday 8/29 7:07 p.m. on YES
LHP Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.37 ERA)
LHP Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.41 ERA)
Saturday 1:07 p.m. on YES
RHP Michael Pineda (3-2, 1.95 ERA)
RHP Drew Hutchison (8-11, 4.68 ERA)
Sunday 1:07 p.m. on YES
RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 2.47 ERA with Yankees)
LHP J.A. Happ (8-8, 4.40 ERA
The Yankees will play three games against the Astros (52-73) and then three against the Chicago White Sox (59-66), who are both in fourth place in their respective divisions. The Yankees are currently in second place in the American League East, 7.5 games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles. If they win at least four out of their six games against the Astros and White Sox at Yankee Stadium, they will have a chance of getting the second wild-card spot since they are now three games behind the Seattle Mariners, and need all of the wins that they can get. The Blue Jays, who are half a game behind the Yankees, have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games, so it could be between the Yankees, the Mariners and the Detroit Tigers, who are tied with the Mariners, for the second wild-card.
The Astros have the 27th worst batting average (.242) and 22nd worst on-base percentage (.310) in major league baseball. However, Jose Altuve has been one of the best players in the American League as he has a .339 average, 67 runs scored and 46 stolen bases this season.
Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, the Yankees general partner/vice chairperson, recently took the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for ALS. She talked about Pete Frates, who was a former baseball player at Boston College who got ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) a few years ago and started this Ice Bucket Challenge, and Lou Gehrig, who was a Yankee Captain and played in 2,130 consecutive games. “He was the first athlete on the Wheaties boxes, I don’t know if a lot of you all knew that, he was in seven world championships, seven All-Star Games, he was truly a fine individual in every front,” Swindal said. “At the age of 36 he found out that he had ALS disease. He died two years later at the age of 38.” She challenged Derek Jeter, the present Yankees Captain, and the people who work in the Yankees offices in Tampa and the Bronx.
These are the pitching match-ups for the series between the Yankees and the Astros at Yankee Stadium:
Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. –
LHP Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.13 ERA)
LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-8, 3.87 ERA)
Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.
RHP Michael Pineda (2-2, 1.82 ERA)
RHP Scott Feldman (6-9, 4.45 ERA)
Thursday at 1:05 p.m.
RHP Brandon McCarthy (4-2, 2.30 ERA)
LHP Dallas Keuchel (10-8, 3.11 ERA)
The Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 5-1 in the third game of the four game series. The Yankees have now won four of their past five games and have won two of the first three games in the series. This game was unusual because the Yankees were able to get the win even though they committed four errors.
Since the All-Star break the Yankees have gone 12-7 and part of the reason for that is that they have hit the most homers (24) in baseball since then. In Wednesday’s game against the Tigers, Chase Headley hit a homer in the fifth and Brian McCann hit his 13th homer of the season in the seventh. That McCann homer put the Yankees up 2-1, and they would add three insurance runs after that.
Justin Verlander had the edge in career achievements over Chris Capuano, as Verlander won the Cy Young as the leagues best pitcher in 2011, but Capuano out-pitched Verlander as he allowed zero earned runs to Verlander’s two. Capuano, who is pitching for his third team this season, had eight strikeouts, only one walk and changed his speeds very well as a result of an excellent change up. Capuano’s unearned run came in the first inning after an error by Derek Jeter allowed Rajai Davis to score on a Miguel Cabrera sacrifice fly.
McCann did a great job calling the game,” Capuano said. He also credited him for his improved offensive play. “McCann has been working hard on his hitting and it’s showed.” McCann is now on a four-game hitting streak and has four RBIs in those games.
The Yankees had a chance to score their first run in the fourth, but Carlos Beltran struck out with runners on first and second. However, before this game, he was hitting .364 since the All-Star break, which is important because he is critical to the offense performing well.
Capuano made the team’s second error in the fifth inning on an Ezequiel Carrera bunt but it was not costly since Capuano got Davis and Ian Kinsler to ground out to end the inning. Yankees pitching was able to get out of trouble once again in the eighth inning. Stephen Drew made a fielding error on Victor Martinez’s grounder causing him to get to first, and then Drew’s throwing error led to Miguel Cabrera advancing to third.
However, with runners on first and third, Adam Warren was able to strike out J.D. Martinez on a high 96 MPH fastball and then get Nick Castellanos to fly out to right to prevent any runs from scoring. Warren was able to get his first win since April 27 and lower his ERA to 3.20 after 1.1 scoreless innings. David Huff had his fifth consecutive scoreless appearance after pitching a perfect a ninth inning.
The Yankees scored two more runs in the eighth, but their best slugger suffered yet another injury. With Blaine Hardy in the game in relief of Verlander, Brett Gardner led off the inning with a single and he would advance to second on Ellsbury’s walk. Mark Teixeira’s single to left scored Gardner. That was Teixeira’s team-leading 52nd run batted in of the campaign.
Beltran’s single to center loaded the bases as Teixeira advanced to second and Ellsbury to third. On the next play, Beltran was out at second on McCann’s ground out, but Ellsbury scored and then Teixeira would just barely get his hand on home plate after Andrew Romine’s throwing error. Teixeira needed three stitches after the game as a result of his hand getting caught under catcher Bryan Holaday’s cleat.
He had to make an outstanding slide to get his hand in there, but he really has had a hard time avoiding injury this year. The good news is that he his x-ray came back negative on his pinky. Before seeing Teixeira today, Girardi knew it would be a day or two for Teixeira. “He’ll be day-to-day,” Girardi said. “I have not seen him yet today. But he’ll be day-to-day, and we’ll see how many days he needs here.”
Teixeira has missed games this season with a strained hamstring, wrist soreness, a hurt knee, weak legs, strained oblique and light-headedness. Teixeira will likely be out a few days, and until then, Ichiro Suzuki will be playing in right, Chase Headley will play first and Marin Prado will play third.
Jeter was 1-4 in Wednesday’s game and with that hit he is now only one more hit away from tying Honus Wagner for the sixth most hits in baseball history.
With the Yankees win and the win by the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees are still one game behind them for the second Wild-Card. Today’s series finale at 1:05 p.m. will be a matchup between rookie Shane Greene and Rick Porcello, who is from Morristown, New Jersey. Greene has struggled a little after allowing zero and two runs in his first two starts, but has shown that he is able to get big outs.
Michael Pineda, who appears ready to rejoin the rotation next week, would likely replace Greene in the rotation. He could also replace Phelps when his turn comes around again next week. After not allowing a run in 3.1 innings, Pineda will get his second rehab start tomorrow for Scranton, and he could return on August 13 at Baltimore.