The Yankees (72-57) wrapped up a 3-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with their 20-6 win on Sunday afternoon. In the three game series at Turner Field against the Braves, who have scored the fewest runs in all of baseball, the Yankees scored 38 runs and Atlanta scored only 11 runs. Even though the Yankees were facing one of the worst teams in the league, this was a much needed offensive outburst for the Bronx Bombers because they had only scored 16 runs in their previous six games.
In Sunday’s win, three 2-out homers gave the Yankees their first seven runs of the game. Jacoby Ellsbury’s three-run homer in the second inning scored Stephen Drew and Nathan Eovaldi, Chase Headley homered to center to score Greg Bird in the third and then Drew hit a homer that scored Didi Gregorius later in the inning.
Eovaldi had his worst start in his last 10 as he allowed five runs in five innings pitched but did record seven strikeouts and won his 14th game of the season. There had been only one game in his previous nine starts that he had given up more than three earned runs, so he was due for a start that was not up to par. Part of the reason that he has 14 runs and only two losses is that Drew Hutchison is the only pitcher in the American League who has had more run support than him this season, but Eovaldi has had much better command of his pitches, in particular his splitter, since allowing eight runs in less than an inning to the Marlins on June 16.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 38-11 margin that the Yankees outscored the Braves during this series is the largest margin in any series this season. Bird scored on a bases loaded walk in the fifth and then the Yankees sealed the win in the seventh inning as they scored nine runs. In the seventh, the Yankees batted around as Headley scored twice in the inning. The Yankees had eight hits in the inning, six different players drove in one or more runs and it took the Braves three different pitchers to get out of the inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Bird, Headley, Gregorius and Drew all had multi-hit games for the Yankees. Drew, who was 4-4 with three runs scored, four RBIs and a homer, finished the game with his average above .200 (.201) for the first time all season. The Yankees did what they needed to do in sweeping the rebuilding Braves, but they were unfortunately not able to gain any ground in the AL East because the Toronto Blue Jays also swept their weekend series. The Yankees trail the Blue Jays by 1.5 games heading into their series opener on Monday at Fenway Park against the Red Sox.
“It’s been a while since we swung the bats like this, so hopefully we can set the tone for September,” Alex Rodriguez said.
The Yankees will still not have Mark Teixeira‘s bat in the lineup during this series because he has been sent back to New York for further testing on his injured right leg. Teixeira, who leads the Yankees with his 31 homers, has not played in 10 of the team’s last 12 games after fouling a ball of his leg on August 17. Bird is the team’s first baseman with Teixeira out of the lineup and he has a .255 average, a .339 on-base percentage, two homers and 10 RBIs in his 16 games played.
CC Sabathia, who went on the 15-day disabled list on August 24 with a sore arthritic right knee, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Monday. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said today in Boston that he sees Sabathia as a starter when he returns.
Ivan Nova will start tonight’s game against the last place Red Sox. Boston is 10 games below .500 and 14 games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East. However, the Red Sox have won three of their last four games.
Nova allowed seven runs in four innings in his previous start, which means that he will need to have better command of his pitches tonight than he did against the Astros. Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka will start the second and third games of the series.
The Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Saturday night for their second consecutive win at Turner Field. They will try for the sweep against the Braves, who have scored the fewest runs in all of baseball, at 1:35 p.m. EST this afternoon. The Yankees are still 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East because the Blue Jays have also won their last two games.
Luis Severino, who didn’t allow a run in six innings pitched, threw his fifth consecutive quality start since being called up from Triple-A Scranton. He has only allowed more than two earned runs in a start once and the six shutout innings that he threw lowered his ERA from 2.74 to 2.17.
“It doesn’t seem to overwhelm him, the situation here,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Severino, who has a plus changeup, slider and fastball, allowed four hits and three walks in his six innings pitched and struck out Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt with runners on first and second on a 96 mph fastball to end the fourth inning. He was able to get former Yankee Nick Swisher to hit into a double play with runners on first and second to end the first, got Jace Peterson to ground out to Stephen Drew at second with runners on first and second in the sixth and retired the side in order in the third and fifth innings.
The rookie is only the second Yankees pitcher 21 or younger to throw six scoreless innings in a start since 1970. Brian Cashman definitely made the right decision in not trading him and he will be an integral part in the team’s push to get to the playoffs.
The Yankees scored for the first time in the first inning when Jacoby Ellsbury scored on Matt Wisler’s wild pitch with Chase Headley at the plate. Headley would strike out with Brian McCann on third and Greg Bird at second to end the frame. In the seventh inning, Didi Gregorius‘s double to right that scored Headley gave the Yankees all the runs that the would need. Gregorius has a three-game hitting streak and has driven in one or more runs in all three of those games.
In the bottom of the seventh, Bethancourt scored the Braves only run of the game after an error by relief pitcher Justin Wilson. Dellin Betances came in and recorded his 20th hold of the season and added two more strikeouts to push his season total to 106, which is 21 more than Twins starter Phil Hughes who has thrown 77 more innings, and then Andrew Miller pitched the ninth inning and saved his 28th game of the season in his first season as a closer.
The Yankees added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Brian McCann hit a double to deep right that scored Chris Young, who had pinch run for Carlos Beltran. McCann has gone 2-5 with five RBIs in his first two games back at Turner Field after playing his home games at Turner Field for the first nine years of his career.
The Yankees will send out the same lineup in the series finale that they did on Saturday. On August 28 it was reported that Mark Teixeira, who has missed nine of the past 11 games with a deep bone bruise, still couldn’t run and the doctor said that he shouldn’t do so for a few days.
Nathan Eovaldi will get the start in the series finale. Eovaldi’s 13 wins are the most on the team and his 4.00 ERA is the lowest it has been since it was 3.97 on May 7. He had his best start of his season in his previous start as he pitched eight inning, didn’t allow a run and recorded seven strikeouts.
After Thursday’s off day and losing two out of three games at home to the Houston Astros and previously losing three out of four games to the Cleveland Indians, who are six games below .500 and were in last place in the AL Central when they faced off, the Yankees will now play an important three-game inter-league series in Atlanta against the Braves.
The Yankees, who went 5-5 on their home-stand against the Minnesota Twins, Indians and Astros, are now 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. Toronto has gone 7-3 in their last 10 games and their +170 run differential is 40 runs better than the St. Louis Cardinals, who have the second best run differential in Major League Baseball. The Yankees play seven more games left with the Blue Jays before the end of the season, which could go a long way in deciding who wins the AL East, but their upcoming six-game road trip against the Braves and Boston Red Sox will be very important.
Atlanta and the Red Sox are a combined 30 games under .500, which means that the Yankees need to take advantage of them since they are obviously not going to the playoffs this season. Atlanta has a 54-73 record, has only one win in their last 10 games, is 17 games out of first place in the National League East and has scored the fewest runs out of any team in either the American or National League. Boston has a 58-69 record, is 13 games back in the AL East and their -41 run differential is fourth worst in the AL
Atlanta’s season long ineptitude in the run scoring department could help the Yankees during this series because they have been struggling to score recently. The Yankees have only scored 38 runs in their last 10 games, which equals an average of only 3.8 runs per game. In comparison, in the 10 games from July 25-August 4, the Yankees scored 90 runs, which is an average of a very impressive nine runs per game.
The Yankees offense has had many of their regulars not produce like normal during the month of August. Alex Rodriguez, who has 26 homers and a .255 average, has a very low .138 average in 80 August at-bats with only eight RBIs. Mark Teixeira, who has not played in seven of the previous nine games because of a bone bruise, has a .175 average in 57 at-bats with three homers and only six RBIs.
A-Rod and Teixeira are the two main players that the Yankees need to improve their average and drive in more runs if they are going to get back in first place and win the AL East. Teixeira and A-Rod are first and third on the team in RBIs, with 79 and 69, respectively, and are first and second in homers with 31 and 26, but they have combined to only drive in 14 runs in August and their averages are both below .200.
Also, Brett Gardner has a .193 average with only one double in August, Stephen Drew has a .217 average in 60 August at-bats and Brian McCann has a .219 average in 73 at-bats in August, but McCann has been productive power wise as he has hit six homers and has 15 RBIs during the month. Part of the struggles could be due to age and not being able to continue the same level of production the whole season. The offense needs to bounce back after the off day and with the inferior teams on the schedule.
One player who could help offensively is Rob Refsnyder. It was announced by Brian Cashman that Refsnyder will be one of the September call-ups. In 504 plate appearances with Triple-A Scranton, Refsnyder has hit .269/.360/.396 with nine homers, 11 steals, 24 doubles and 53 RBIs. That is better production than Drew, who only has a .196 average and a .266 on-base percentage and 36 runs scored to the 64 that Refsnyder has. However, Drew does have 15 homers to Refsnyder’s nine and Drew does play better defense at second.
It will be a positive to have Refsnyder’s bat on the bench and to start some games instead of Drew. The Yankees will also be able to call-up a few pitchers who already have experience out of the bullpen this season, which will make it easier to go to a six-man rotation to give the pitching staff more rest.
The Yankees are 6-8 so far this season in inter-league play, so they will look to at least be 8-9 in games against the National League at the end of this series against the Braves in Atlanta. The Braves have rookies pitching in the first two games and then Julio Tehran, who has 15 wins, will get the start in the series finale on Thursday.
The Yankees designated reliever David Carpenter for assignment on Wednesday afternoon before their game against the Seattle Mariners. They had to remove someone from the 25-man roster because Masahiro Tanaka was coming off of the disabled list to start today’s game.
The Yankees received Carpenter and Chasen Shreve from the Atlanta Braves when they traded Manny Banuelos. Carpenter has really struggled this season as he had a 4.82 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched this season. He pitched very well in 2013 with the Braves finishing the season with a 1.78 ERA and 0.990 WHIP in 65.2 innings, but he has been progressively worse since then.
Carpenter had 11 strikeouts and seven walks this season, which is not a strikeout to walk ratio that leads to success. He gave up the go-ahead run in the sixth inning last night, which could have been what sealed the deal for him. It is possible that he is one of those players that was just not able to handle the pressure of playing for the Yankees.
The Yankees opted to keep Jacob Lindgren on the roster instead. He made his debut on May 25 and has a 4.15 ERA in four appearances. Besides his appearances on May 29 when he allowed two runs on three hits, he has pitched 3.1 innings while not allowing a hit and striking out four.
Lindy, as Girardi calls him, had a dominating 1.23 ERA this season at Triple-A Scranton, and the lefty has the ability to improve the bullpen. Lindgren is known for his fastball and his slider is his strikeout pitch.
David Carpenter, who is a 29-year-old right-handed relief pitcher, was traded to the Yankees from the Atlanta Braves with Chasen Shreve for former top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos on January 1. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 12th round of the 2006 draft, and he has previously pitched in the majors for the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Braves.
Carpenter is currently on a one-year, $1.3 million contract. He had the best season of his career in 2013 when current Yankees catcher Brian McCann was still on the Braves. During the 2013 campaign, Carpenter was the team’s top set-up man and finished the season with four wins, 12 holds, a 1.78 ERA, 65.2 innings, an impressive 0.990 WHIP and a career-high 74 strikeouts. He was able to have an All-Star caliber season after not making his Braves debut until May 10.
He started the 2014 season as the team’s set-up man, but he ended the season nearly allowing double the runs that he did in 2013. He had a much higher 3.54 ERA and allowed more earned runs (24 and 13 in 2013) in 2014, but he did have more holds (19) than he did in in 2013. Also, his strikeouts/9 innings (9.9 in 2014 and 10.1 in 2013) and walks/9 innings (2.4 and 2.7) were virtually the same, which proves that he hasn’t lost much from 2013.
McCann gave the Yankees a “strong endorsement of his former Braves teammate, which could mean that their chemistry will lead to Carpenter allowing closer to the amount of earned runs he allowed in 2013 than the amount he allowed in 2014. Either way, Carpenter will be an upgrade over Shawn Kelley, who had a 4.53 ERA for the Yankees.
Carpenter is known for his blazing fast fourseam fastball, which means that he will give the bullpen another power pitcher to go with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson. The other pitch that he relies on to get outs is a slider (86mph). He also has a change (90mph), but he doesn’t rely on it as he only threw it 18 times last season. He will be another pitcher in the bullpen who the Yankees will be able to count on to get strikeouts.
He will mostly be pitching in the seventh inning since Betances and Miller will be the eight and ninth inning combo, but Carpenter has four career saves and is capable of closing if Miller and Betances are not available. It could take him some time to get used to pitching in the AL East and Yankee Stadium, but he will likely have a bounce back season and come close to the pitcher he was in 2013.
The Yankees will have an elite bullpen if Carpenter comes close to the pitcher he was in 2013 and Betances and Miller pitch like they did last season.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio all got elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday afternoon after being four of the best players of the last 25 years. They were all on the ballot for the first time. In order to get inducted into the Hall of Fame one needs 75 percent of the vote and Biggio got 82.7 percent (454 votes), Smoltz got 82.9 percent (455 votes), Martinez got 91.1 percent (500 votes) and Johnson got 97.3 percent (534 votes).
Biggio, a Long Island native, had 3,060 hits, 291 homers and 414 steals in 20 seasons. He was an All-Star seven times, had a solid .281 career average, hit more than 15 homers and had 15 or more steals 12 times and is the only player in baseball history with at least 200 career games as a catcher, middle infielder and outfielder.
Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz combined to win nine Cy Young awards. Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz also became the first trio of pitchers honored by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) in the same election. Those three were on the ballot for the first time and the trio along with Biggio will be inducted July 26 as part of the Hall’s Induction Weekend from July 24-7 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Smoltz, who is from Detroit, joins longtime teammates Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux in the Hall of Fame as they were inducted on their first year’s of eligibility last year. That Braves rotation during the 90s that included those three pitchers is likely the only one that went on to have three pitchers go to Cooperstown.
Smoltz had remarkable longevity as he pitched for the Braves for 19 seasons and pitched his final season with the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. His ERA in those 20 seasons was 3.33, and four of those seasons were spent as a dominating relief pitcher/closer with the Braves. He was an All-Star six times as a starter and two times as a closer. “Smoltzie” is the only pitcher with 200 wins (213) and 100 saves (154) in MLB history.
Martinez, who is from the Dominican Republic, pitched in 18 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. He is most remembered for his seven seasons with the Red Sox, which included a World Series championship in 2004.
He was an All-Star eight times, won the Cy Young three times and his upper 90s fastball, knee buckling curveball and changeup were almost un-hittable while being possibly the three best pitches during his era. His seven seasons from 1997-03 might be the seven best seasons by one pitcher of all-time as he had a 2.20 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 11.3 strikeouts/9 and only 2.0 walks/9. He owned the Yankees during his time with the Red Sox. He had an outstanding 2.93 ERA even with three seasons of 3.90 or worse, was 219-100 for his career (an unheard of 119 games over .500), and had 3,154 strikeouts while only walking 760 batters.
Johnson, or the Big Unit because he was intimidating at 6-10, is from Walnut Creek, California and went to USC. He was an All-Star in 10 out of his 22 seasons after rebounding from his second season where he had an ERA of 4.82 with the Montreal Expos and Seattle Mariners.
He really came into his own in 1993, his sixth season, since his ERA was 3.24 that season and it would only be higher than that in one full season between then and 2003 when he was 39. His career ERA was 3.29, he had a remarkable 303 and 166 record, pitched 4,135.1 innings, struck out more than 300 batters five times leading to a dominating 4,875 for his career. His 4,875 strikeout total is only behind Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 in MLB history. He won the Cy Young five times, which is second only to Roger Clemens’s seven.
The Big Unit is best known for his years with the Mariners as he was named an All-Star five times in his nine seasons with Seattle, but he also pitched for the Expos, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks twice, Yankees and finished his career with the San Francisco Giants. He also had remarkable longevity since he was an All-Star during his age 40 season with the Diamondbacks and won 73 games while making 159 starts from when he was 40 until 45.
He will not be most remembered for his two years as a Yankee from 2005-06 when he was 41 and 42, but the Big Unit did win a significant amount of games during that time period. In his first season (2004), he had a solid 3.79 ERA, 17 wins, threw 225.2 innings, and had 211 strikeouts (2nd in the AL) and only 47 walks. His 5.00 ERA in 33 starts the next season was much worse but he still managed to win 17 games. (It was revealed that he was pitching that season with a herniated disc.)
The Yankees lost in the opening round of the playoffs in both of Johnson’s seasons with the team and he didn’t come close to pitching up to his Hall of Fame standards. He came to the team in January of 2005 as the Diamondbacks traded him to the Bronx for Javier Vazquez, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro and cash.
Along with finishing second in the AL in strikeouts for the Yankees when he was 41, Johnson’s two-year stint with the team might be most remembered for getting into an altercation with a Daily News photographer. On his way to his physical that would make the trade official, he got physical during a heated argument with a TV cameraman and also the NY Daily News photographer. These two incidents happened on Madison Ave. between 58th and 60th Sts. He didn’t like the increased media presence that he saw in NYC and wanted the press to get away from him.
In 2001 the Big Unit had possibly his best season as he led the National League with a 2.49 ERA, 372 strikeouts and a 1.009 WHIP. However, his blazing fastball hit a bird while approaching home plate during a spring training game that season against the San Francisco Giants. This is a moment that he will always be remembered for and will always be shown on blooper videos. Here is the video of the pitch hitting a bird and smashing it to pieces:
The Yankees kicked off the New Year by trading a former top pitching prospect for two pitchers who can have an impact on their bullpen this season. At about 5 p.m. on Thursday, the Yankees traded Manny Banuelos, who was a top prospect before his Tommy John Surgery, to the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees received David Carpenter, who was the top set-up man for the Braves the past two seasons, and the emerging reliever Chasen Shreve.
Trading Banuelos now makes sense but it would not have made sense a few years ago. Before he missed the 2013 season due to Tommy John Surgery and had an inconsistent 2011 and 2012, he was one of three up-and-coming starters in the organization who along with Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman were known as the Killer B’s. They were expected to all be productive starters in the Yankees rotation. Banuelos, is no longer a top pitching prospect as he was surpassed by Ian Clarkin, Luis Severino and Brady Lail, Brackman has retired after many injuries and Betances was an All-Star in his first full season as a relief pitcher last season.
It is possible that Banuelos will still be an effective No. 3/4 starter, but it makes sense that GM Brian Cashman was able to trade him for Carpenter and Shreve who can help the bullpen be a strength of the team in 2015. The Yankees don’t really know what they will get from CC Sabathia, Nate Eovaldi or Chris Capuano, which makes having a deep and effective bullpen even more important.
Brian McCann, who caught Carpenter during his last season with the Braves in 2013, gave Carpenter a strong endorsement. In 2013, with McCann on the Braves, Carpenter had his best season as a pro as he pitched in 56 games, had a 1.78 ERA, 0.990 WHIP, 74 strikeouts (10.1 Ks/9 innings) and 20 walks (2.7 walks/9 innings). In 2014, his 3.54 ERA and 1.262 WHIP were a good bit worse than 2013, but his Ks/9 innings (9.9) and walks/9 innings (2.4) were the same or better than 2013. Carpenter’s fastball tops out at an impressive 99 MPH, usually throws between 95-96 and has a strong cutter & slider.
The Yankees traded Shawn Kelley about a week ago for an emerging minor leaguer from the Padres, and Carpenter’s stats should be much better than Kelley’s over the last two years. Carpenter, a 29-year-old Morgantown, West Virginia native who went to West Virginia University, will be playing in his fifth season and has previously pitched for the Houston Astros, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Braves.
Shreve, the other player the Yankees acquired, played at Double-A, Triple-A and with the Braves last season. The 24-year-old from Las Vegas who went to the College of Southern Nevada pitched in 15 games fro the Braves after his fast ascent up the Braves system and had a stellar 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings. His 15 strikeouts led to an impressive Ks/9 innings of 10.9. Shreve, who was drafted in 2010, had a 2.67 ERA and 87 strikeouts during the 2014 season while pitching in 36 games for Double-A Mississippi and 10 games for Triple-A Gwinett.
Shreve pitched at Double-A for the first time in 2012 where he threw 18.1 innings in 11 games. earning a 2-1 record with an average 3.93 ERA. After dominating the opposition with a 2.75 ERA to start the season with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats, Shreve struggled (4.43 in 42.2 innings) after pitching with Double-A once again. He was throwing his fastball between 86 and 90 MPH during the 2013 season and didn’t look like he would soon be promoted to the show.
After struggling at the beginning of the season with Double-A in 2014, he went to his pitching coach and said that: “I can throw hard if you want me to. I choose not to, I choose to spot up,” according to Chop Country. After the meeting with his pitching coach, his average fastball improved from 91 MPH to 94 MPH and led to much better results at Double-A and his promotion to Triple-A and the Braves. He will likely begin the 2015 season with Triple-A Scranton and a call up to the Yankees by July is a definite possibility.
It is possible that the Yankees gave up too early on Banuelos, but his 4.59 ERA in 16 starts at Double-A Trenton last season proves that it was worth upgrading the bullpen so another team could gamble on him. The Yankees bullpen is now likely complete for the start of 2015, and Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam Warren, Carpenter, Shreve, Justin Wilson, Esmil Rogers will all be able to make an impact and serve different roles. Jacob Lindgren, who advanced to Triple-A last season after being drafted in May, should also be called up at some point.
The additions of Carpenter and Shreve give the Yankees a bullpen that could be as effective as the one the Royals had last season where the game was effectively over in the sixth inning when the Royals had the lead. It is not known who will be the closer, but Betances and Miller could share the closer spot, and Carpenter is also capable of pitching in the ninth if they both need a day off.