The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 5-3, at Camden Yards on Sunday afternoon. They avoided a sweep as they had lost the previous two games in the series.
The Yankees (34-28) are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the AL East. The Toronto Blue Jays, who are on an 11-game winning streak, are now only a game behind the Yankees and Rays.
Adam Warren allowed three runs, three walks and six hits in 4.2 innings, but he was able to rebound from allowing two runs in the first inning. After Nolan Reimold hit a single that drove in Manny Machado and Adam Jones in the first, Warren went onto retire the next eight batters that he faced.
Warren’s 4.2 innings were the fewest he had pitched over his last six starts. He had also allowed two runs or less in each of his last four starts, which proves how much he had dominated before this start. (This could be his last start in the rotation because Ivan Nova will be ready to come off the DL and he is needed more in the bullpen.)
However, he was able to keep the team in the game even though he didn’t have his best stuff.
“I think just collect yourself and get back to your mechanics,” Warren said in reference to how he bounced back after Reimold’s two RBI single. “I just want to focus on my next side (session) and get better from there.”
John Ryan Murphy hit a 2-run double off of Manny Machado’s glove with two outs in the fifth to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew had previously struck out with the bases loaded after Garrett Jones’s bases loaded walk against Brian Matusz, who was pitching in relief of starter Mike Wright.
“Nothing has changed,” Murphy said, who improved his average from .208 to .250 with his three hits. “I got into a good count, 2-0, and he gave me a good pitch to hit.”
In the first inning, Mark Teixeira doubled to left to score Brett Gardner for the team’s first run of the game. In the second, Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Gregorius.
However, the Yankees should have scored more in the second as they had the bases loaded with no outs. Murphy came through in the clutch for the Yankees as they were 1-11 with runners in scoring position not including his two-run double. Gregorius was 0-3 with RISP, rookie Mason Williams was 0-2 with RISP and the team combined to leave 10 men on base.
After not performing well the past three games, the bullpen pitched 4.1 no hit innings in relief of Warren. Chasen Shreve, who got his third win of the season, pitched 1.1 innings to lower his ERA to an impressive 2.05. Justin Wilson, who picked up his ninth hold of the season, had three strikeouts and has now not allowed a run in his last nine appearances (9.0 innings). Wilson and Shreve will likely primarily combine to pitch the eighth inning while Andrew Miller in on the disabled list.
Dellin Betances had a strikeout in the ninth (55th strikeout in his 33.1 innings) inning on the way to recording his third save of the season and first as the closer while Miller is on the DL. He has been the best relief pitcher in the league as he has allowed one earned run (0.27 ERA) and has a 0.78 WHIP.
“Today was one of those days that Justin Wilson wasn’t going to get hit no matter who was at-bat, and (Dellin) Betances did more of the same,” Murphy added.
All three Yankees struck out in the sixth. Alex Rodriguez, who struck out to end the inning, is only five hits away from being the 29th baseball player with 3,000 hits. He will likely either hit his 3,000th hit in their upcoming two-game series against the Marlins in Miami (where he grew up) or when they play a two-game series against the Marlins and then a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers from June 17-21 at Yankee Stadium.
Major League Baseball’s official statistician is the Elias Sports Bureau. They only started keeping track of RBIs as a statistic in 1920, otherwise Babe Ruth (2,214) and Cap Anson (2,075) would also officially be in the 2,000 hit club.
Monday’s game starts at 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park, and Masahiro Tanaka will pitch for the first time against the Marlins.
It was announced that John Ryan Murphy will be Brian McCann’s back-up at catcher for the 2015 season. The Yankees designated Austin Romine for assignment because he is out of options. Murphy was the favorite to be the back-up catcher coming into spring training and Romine didn’t do anything to prove that he deserved the position.
Neither player hit very well in spring training, but Murphy definitely had the edge as he had a .250 average and Romine’s average was .182. Last season, Murphy was chosen instead of Romine to be McCann’s back-up while Francisco Cervelli was injured and Murphy had a .284 average in 81 at-bats with one homer and nine RBIs. Romine is a very low .204 average in 167 at-bats.
Murphy caught 201 innings last season and had one error, a .994 fielding percentage and threw out 17 percent of potential base stealers. His caught stealing percentage is low, but his percentage from 2013 and in the minors indicates that it should improve. It makes sense that the Yankees kept Murphy because he is better offensively and is as good or better than Romine defensively.
Brian McCann will likely start about 120 games behind the plate this season, as he will have days off and be the DH during some games. It will be important for Murphy to hit for about a .270-.280 average, drive in runs when they are in scoring position with less than two outs, improve his caught stealing percentage and be reliable behind the plate.
(McCann played catcher in fewer games than normal last season (108 games) because he played in 16 games at first base because the Yankees didn’t have a back-up first baseman.)
With Murphy being named the back-up catcher, the Opening Day roster is finalized:
Catchers: Brian McCann and John Ryan Murphy
First Base: Mark Teixeria and Garrett Jones
Second Base: Stephen Drew and Gregorio Petit
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius and Gregorio Petit
Third Base: Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez
Outfield: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Chris Young
Designated Hitter: Alex Rodriguez
Rotation: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nate Eovaldi and Adam Warren
Bullpen: Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, David Carpenter, Justin Wilson, Esmil Rogers, Chasen Shreve and Chris Martin
John Ryan Murphy and Austin Romine will be competing in spring training to be Brian McCann’s back-up at catcher. Murphy, who will be 24 in May, has the advantage because he was the one chosen to be the back-up catcher last season when Francisco Cervelli was put on the 60-day disabled list because of his hamstring injury.
Romine, who is already 26, was not very impressive when he filled in as Chris Stewart’s back-up in 2013. In 135 at-bats (60 games), Romine had a .207 average with one homer, 10 RBIs, a .255 OBP and 37 strikeouts. He has also been called up for short stints in 2011 and 2014. In 76 games (181 plate appearances), he has a .201 average with one homer, 11 RBIs, 10 doubles, 46 strikeouts and a .281 SLG%. On the defensive side, he has four errors and has only thrown out 24% of potential stolen base attempts.
Going into the 2010 season, Romine was rated the Yankees’ second best prospect, according to Baseball America. In the 2010 season, Romine was a participant in the All-Star Futures Game, which is for the best up-and-coming players in baseball. However, he has obviously not developed as anticipated.
On the other hand, Murphy had a .284 average with one homer, nine RBIs, four doubles and a .370 SLG% in 81 at-bats (32 games). His eight-game hitting streak from the end of April to the middle of May included three multi-hit games, which proves that he can help the team offensively for a sustained stretch of games. In his 48 games between 2013 and 2014, he has a .252 average with one homer, 10 RBIs, five doubles and a .327 SLG%.
Murphy has also produced better on defense than Romine. He has one error and his caught stealing percentage is 28%. (His CS% was 17% in 2014) League average for a catcher last season was 27%, which is basically the same as his CS% was in the minors (26%).
Brian McCann will ideally play in 140 games like he did last season, which means that the back-up catcher will not have much impact. In addition to McCann’s off days, he will be the DH for some games giving the back-up additional time behind the plate.
Murphy should and most likely will get the edge over Romine because he hits for a higher average, is more consistent, is more reliable behind the plate. The back-up catcher should be able to be productive when called upon while helping the team win a few games and that’s exactly what Murphy can do.
Romine is out of options, which means that he can’t go to Triple-A Scranton without passing through waivers. He will be trying to impress the Yankees in spring training, and competition is always a plus, but Romine hasn’t proved to be an asset on the major league level. Romine will make more sense starting the year with Triple-A Scranton or with another team.