In the series finale between the Yankees (38-31) and Detroit Tigers (35-34) at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees going for the sweep, the Yankees lost to the Tigers 12-4 as J.D. Martinez drove in half of Detroit’s runs. Martinez hit two homers off of Masahiro Tanaka and one against Danny Burawa to become the first player in the American League to hit three homers in a game this season.
J.D. Martinez hit his first homer, a two-run blast, after an error with two outs by Didi Gregorius. His third homer was a second deck opposite field homer that drove in Victor Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes in the sixth inning and it was his first multi-homer game of his career. Victor Martinez hit a two-run homer to the second deck in right in the first inning for his first homer since May 6.
Tanaka gave up six runs in the first the two innings and his pitches were up in the zone. His splitter, sinker and slider didn’t have the movement that they normally do. He ended up allowing five earned runs, seven overall, in five innings pitched. The three homers that he allowed were a career-high.
He took a step back in this start as he had allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts. His ERA went up from 2.49 to 3.17 after his rare ineffective performance.
“I was missing spots and I was missing by far margins so I wasn’t really sharp today,” Tanaka said.
“Location, split was up to Martinez,” Joe Girardi said. “He just didn’t have the control that he had the last couple of starts. For whatever reason, he (Tanaka) didn’t have it today. He just didn’t have good location. King Felix gave up eight runs in a third of an inning, these are human beings and some days they just don’t have it. He will bounce back.”
Also in the sixth inning for the Tigers, Andrew Romine, who is the brother of Yankees Triple-A catcher Austin Romine, hit a solo homer off of Jorge De Paula to give the Tigers their 12th and final run. Burawa allowed four runs while only recording two outs in the sixth and then Jorge De Paula come in with two outs in the sixth to give up Romine’s solo blast, and then was able to save the bullpen by holding the opposition scoreless over the final three innings. De Paula and Burawa both made their major-league debuts.
Stephen Drew hit a homer over the Lays sign in right in the ninth inning, to give the Yanks their fourth run, after hitting a solo shot in the seventh. That was his third multi-homer game of the season and his homer in the ninth inning gave him 11 for the season.
Even though he only has a .188 average, he has driven in 24 runs and his 11 homers are second in the American League among second basemen. He has been playing solid defense and has been contributing with homers and RBIs even though his average is not where he wants it to be.
The Yankees, who are still a game behind the Rays for first place in the AL East since Tampa Bay lost today, will continue their homestand with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. It is important that the Yankees win two or three games against the Phillies because their 24-47 record gives them the worst record in all of baseball.
The Yankees (36-30, one game out of first in AL East) begin a three-game series tonight at Yankee Stadium against the Detroit Tigers. After Alex Rodriguez’s two hits last night, he is only one hit away from 3,000 for his career. He has a .357 career average with four homers in 28 at-bats against Tigers starter Justin Verlander.
Brian McCann will get the night off and back-up John Ryan Murphy will start instead of him. The Yankees lineup will not be as deep, but Mason Williams, who had two doubles last night, is hitting well at the bottom of the lineup.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series against the third place Tigers (34-32):
RHP Adam Warren (4-4, 3.78)
RHP Justin Verlander (0-0, 3.60)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-2, 5.12)
RHP Alfredo Simon (7-3, 2.58)
7:15 p.m., YES Network
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (4-2, 2.49)
RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-7, 4.65)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
In this video, late night talk show host Seth Meyers talked to people at Yankee Stadium who do not usually get to tell their story. He interviewed a bat boy, a clubhouse attendant, the organist and a beer vendor.
On Thursday, the Yankees (9-7) won the series finale against the Detroit Tigers 2-1. They won three of the four games during their series at Comerica Park against the Tigers who previously had the best offense in baseball, and they finished their 10-game road trip to Camden Yards, Tropicana Field and Comerica Park with an impressive 7-3 record.
After struggling on defense during their first nine games of the season, the Yankees have played like they are capable of defensively and have made a number of highlight plays while winning six of their past seven games. During the win over the Tigers last night, Chase Headley made outstanding plays in the seventh and ninth innings to help the team get the win.
After not allowing a run in seven innings in his previous start against the Tampa Bay Rays, Masahiro Tanaka allowed only one run in 6.1 innings pitched against the Tigers. He had six strikeouts and only allowed three hits and was arguably more impressive during this start because Detroit’s lineup is much deeper and more powerful than Tampa Bay’s. Tanaka looked shaky in his first two starts of the season, but he has pitched like the ace he was last season in his last two starts.
It is a positive sign that Tanaka (1), Nathan Eovaldi (1) and CC Sabathia (2) allowed a combined four runs against the Tigers. Those three starters shutdown what is likely the best offense in baseball and proved that the No 1, No. 3 and No. 4 starters can have success any time they take the mound.
Tanaka pitched on normal rest for the first time this season and when he was interviewed after the game he said that there was no difference for him throwing on four days rest instead of five. He now has a 2.85 ERA in day games between last season and this season.
Also, during the series against the Tigers, Chris Young continued to prove that he could be a superior option to Carlos Beltran going forward. Young went 1-4 Thursday night, but during the series he was 7-13 (.538) with three run scored, two doubles, a homer and an RBI. He has an outstanding .357 average this season with four homers, nine RBIs, eight runs scored and five doubles.
Beltran has a .184 average with zero homers, so there is not comparison as to who has been more valuable this season. Beltran might still turn it around, but he appears to at 37 years old not have much left and Young is performing like he did in 2010 when he hit 27 homers with 91 RBIs and was an All-Star.
Both Yankees runs were scored by Jacoby Ellsbury, who used his speed to his advantage. In the sixth inning, Ellsbury walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and then he was able to score after causing Anibal Sanchez to balk. In the eighth inning, Ellsbury doubled to center, Brett Gardner sacrificed him to third and then he was able to score the winning run on Brian McCann’s ground out to first.
Dellin Betances looked like the dominating set-up man that he was last year for his fifth straight appearance as he picked up his fourth win and pitched a perfect eighth inning recording two strikeouts. Andrew Miller recorded his sixth save in as many chances and has proven to be an excellent offseason signing. He got the heart of the Tigers order, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez, out on only eight pitches.
Miller’s fastball and slider combo helped him strikeout Cabrera and J.D. Martinez. Either the Yankees or Kansas City Royals likely have the best bullpen in the American League.
The Yankees are pitching well and playing well defensively and getting timely hitting offensively going into their Subway Series against the Mets, who at 13-3 have the best record in baseball. The Mets have won their last 11 games and this will be the first time in Subway Series history that the Yankees and Mets are both in first place heading into the series.
“It is going to be awesome,” said Alex Rodriguez, who sat out his first game of the season on Thursday. “The stadium should be rocking. Our fans are ready and their fans are ready, too. It is fun for the players and even more fun for the fans.”
After sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, the Yankees (6-6) will play a four-game series against the 10-2 Detroit Tigers. In the three game sweep of the Rays, the Yankees scored a combined 19 runs while limiting the rays to only seven. Masahiro Tanaka threw by far his best game of the season, Alex Rodriguez hit his third and fourth homers putting him only two behind Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list and Garrett Jones even hit a triple during Sunday’s win. The bullpen performed well, as they should be able to do for most of the season, and the Yankees will go into Detroit with momentum.
Here are the pitching match-ups for the series at Comerica Park:
7:08 P.M., on the YES Network and ESPN
RHP Nate Eovaldi (0-0, 4.35 ERA)
LHP Kyle Lobstein (1-0, 5.40 ERA)
7:08 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
RHP Adam Warren (0-1, 4.82 ERA)
LHP David Price (1-0, 0.40 ERA)
7:08 p.m.., YES Network
TBD / RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 3.94 ERA
RHP Anibal Sanchez (1-2, 7.71)
1:08 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
Detroit is coming into the series with the the best record in the American League with three more wins than the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. The Tigers have scored the second most runs (68), have the second best average (.305), have the third most hits (128) and are in a tie with three teams for the second most doubles (24). Sabathia, Eovaldi and Warren will have to pitch better than they did in their previous starts when they take the mound during this series.
The TBD before Tanaka’s name is because their is a possibility that the Joe Girardi will give Tanaka and extra few days of rest. The Yankees talked about going with a six-man rotation during spring training and this is a time that it would make sense to do so.
CC Sabathia will get the start tonight for the Yankees. In his previous start he pitched seven innings and allowed seven hits, four earned runs and had seven strikeouts. His previous start was much better than his first one, and Sabathia will look to allow fewer earned runs in his start in Detroit. He has proven to still be a strikeout pitcher with outstanding control as he has 15 strikeouts and only one walk in two starts, but he needs to continue being effective later in games.
His fourth strikeout of the game, in the fourth inning against Jonathan Schoop, moved him passed Andy Pettitte on the all-time strikeout list. After the three more strikeouts that he had during the game, he now has 2,452 and is in 36th place on the all-time list.
The Yankees will face David Price, who has only allowed one run in 22.1 innings pitched, but they will not have to face Shane Greene in this series. Greene has also been one of the best pitchers in baseball so far as he has made three starts and only allowed one earned run in 23.0 innings pitched.
Girardi has decided that Tanaka will make his start on Thursday. It will be the first time this season that Tanaka will start on four days rest. The off days that they have had have allowed him to have an extra day, but Tanaka will have to get used to pitching on four days rest as the season progresses. He will have to prove that he can stay healthy for the whole season.
During Saturday’s split squad 4-1 win against the Detroit Tigers, Michael Pineda threw 34 pitches in three innings and didn’t allow a hit. Pineda recorded four strikeouts and in the second inning he struck out Nick Castellanos swinging on his way to striking out the side.
“I’m happy,” Pineda said. “My changeup and all my pitches were very good. The command is still good.”
Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson was interviewed during the game and said that his slider looked good and he liked the confidence that he is showing on the mound. Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka could both serve as aces at the top of the rotation, and it is a positive sign that they both didn’t allow a run in consecutive spring training appearances.
Pineda, who is 26 years old and his only injury-free major league season came in 2011 with the Mariners, will try to stay healthy for the whole season during the 2015 campaign. If he can stay healthy while pitching like he did last season, he will greatly improve the team’s chance of making the playoffs. Last season, Pineda made 13 starts, threw 76.1 innings, had an outstanding 1.89 ERA, a 0.825 WHIP, 59 strikeouts and only seven walks.
After pitching two scoreless innings in his first spring training start on March 9, he pitched one more inning with similar dominance. He is an imposing figure on the mound at 6-7 and 260 pounds and his size helps him make his four-seam fastball (93mph), slider (85mph), change (88mph) and sinker (91mph) more effective. Pineda and Tanaka are capable of being the best one and two starters in the American League East this season.
On offense, for the team’s first run of the game, Didi Gregorius hit a sac fly to right to drive in Mason Williams after his triple in the third inning for the team’s first run. Williams is an outfield prospect with a lot of potential who underperformed last season as he hit only .223 at Double-A Trenton. He was rated the 41st best prospect in baseball before the 2013 season.
In the sixth inning, second baseman Stephen Drew hit a single to load the bases and then two runs scored on an error after first baseman Mark Teixeira hit a ground ball. Those were all the runs the Yankees would need as the Tigers only had one runner cross home plate.
The Yankees lost their other game played on Saturday to the Blue Jays, which means that their Grapefruit League record is 8-5. Esmil Rogers got the start with Joe Girardi watching and he is a possibility for the open 5th starter position. Rogers, who pitched for the Blue Jays in 2013 and part of 2014, pitched three scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and had three strikeouts.
The only run that the Tigers scored came off of Dellin Betances, who could be the closer this season. Betances allowed two hits and a balk, but his spring training stats don’t matter nearly as much as they did last season when his dominance helped him make the team. Andrew Miller, who could also be the closer, struck out two in the fifth, Nick Rumbelow, James Pazos, Jaron Long and Jared Burton combined to allow only one hit in the final four innings.
Max Scherzer, who had pitched his previous five seasons with the Detroit Tigers and won the Cy Young in 2013, has signed a seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals. The contract will be worth $210 million, according to Ken Rosenthal. The 30-year-old who is coming off of two consecutive All-Star seasons was the premier free agent pitcher and he took until January 19 to sign with a team partly because his agent is Scott Boras.
He will give the Nats an even more imposing rotation than they had before, but his signing does mean that they have six starters for five spots in the rotation. Scherzer’s signing means that he would currently be in the rotation with Jordan Zimmermann (2.66 ERA in 2014), Stephen Strasburg (3.14 ERA in 2014), Gio Gonzalez (3.57 ERA in 2014), Doug Fister (2.41 ERA in 2014) and Tanner Roark (2.85 ERA in 2014). Even without one of these five pitchers, the Nationals will still likely have the best rotation in baseball next season.
Scherzer would have greatly helped the Yankees rotation, but General Manager Brian Cashman has not had interest in him throughout the offseason because he does not want to give another long-term contract to a pitcher. The Yankees already have CC Sabathia on an eight-year, $182 million contract that expires in 2016 and Masahiro Tanaka on a seven-year, $155 million contract that expires in 2019. Sabathia, who is 34, has to reinvent himself as a pitcher this season because he doesn’t have the velocity on his fastball that he used to and is coming off of surgery to repair his knee.
Based on the Yankees need for another starter and the Nationals current excess of starters it would makes sense if the Yankees traded for Doug Fister (30 & 31 in February) or Jordan Zimmerman (28). They are both on short-term contracts as Fister is on a one-year, $11.4 million deal and Zimmerman is on a two-year, $24 million contract that ends after the 2015 season. The Yankees should definitely make a trade especially if they can get some kind of a guarantee that they would re-sign.
Zimmermann, who is in his prime, is coming off of two consecutive All-Star seasons and is entering his seventh MLB campaign. He made 32 starts last season, had a career-low 2.66 ERA, two shutouts, a career-high 182 strikeouts, only 29 walks and a career-low 1.3 walks/9 innings. He is an ace with excellent control who is represented by Relativity Baseball, which is a benefit for a possible future contract (they are not Boras).
Fister, who is also entering his seventh season after playing last season for the Nationals and before that the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners, is coming off of a season where he finished fourth in the National League in ERA. In 2014, he finished with a career-low 2.41 ERA, a career-high 16 wins, a very low 1.079 WHIP, 98 strikeouts and only 24 walks.
Both of these pitchers are worth trading for. They both have similar career ERAs with Zimmermann’s at 3.24 and Fister’s at 3.34. Zimmerman has more years left as a top of the rotation starter as he is two years younger than Fister. On the other hand, since Fister is two years older and is not the strikeout pitcher that Zimmermann is, his contract after the 2015 season would likely be less than Zimmermann’s.
The Yankees could put together a combination of top catching prospect Gary Sanchez, infielder Jose Pirela and one of their many relief pitchers for Zimmermann or Fister. Sanchez is coming off of a season where he hit 13 homers and drove in 65 runs with a .270 average in 110 games at Double-A Trenton. Pirela is a utility infielder that the Nationals could use and their bullpen isn’t very deep.
Wilson Ramos, who is only 27, has been their starting catcher for the last four seasons and has one more year left on his contract. Sanchez could potentially be the Nationals starter in 2016. However, Sanchez is known much more for his offense than his defense so the Nationals could have him switch to first base in 2015. Sanchez at first would allow Ryan Zimmerman to switch back to his natural third base position.
This trade makes sense for the Yankees because the need another starter so that Capuano will not have to be relied on next season, and the Yankees still have Brian McCann under contract at catcher for the next four seasons. With Zimmermann or Fister, the Yankees rotation could be Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova (when he returns by June), CC Sabathia and Zimmermann or Fister. The Yankees recently traded for Nate Eovaldi, but he could be the odd man as he led the NL in hits last year.
The current rotation for the Yankees, after the recent departures of Shane Greene and Brandon McCarthy, would be Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Adam Warren and David Phelps. Ivan Nova will slot into the rotation likely in June when he is recovered from the Tommy John surgery he had on his right elbow last April.
This is a rotation with health question marks and unproven pitchers at the four and five spots, which means that the Yankees need to overpay Max Scherzer in order to have a better season than they did in 2014. Scherzer will not turn 31 until the end of July and is coming off of two consecutive All-Star seasons.
He has only thrown more than 200 innings twice in his career (2013 & 2014), which proves that he probably will not breakdown as early as a pitcher like Jon Lester, who has done so six times. Scherzer and Lester are both 30, but Lester has made 252 starts while Scherzer has made only 198. Lester has already signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs, and James Shields, who is the other marquee free agent, is not worth signing because he is 32 and has made 285 starts.
Scherzer reportedly wants a six-to-seven year contract that could reach $200 million, which would be the second highest total contract ever given to a starting pitcher after the one Clayton Kershaw signed, but the Yankees need to listen to his agent, Scott Boras, because he will be able to be counted on to be an ace for the next three-four years. Scherzer won the Cy Young in 2013 and has had ERAs of 2.90 and 3.15 in each of the last two seasons. Also, he has averaged 32 starts, 197 innings and 209 strikeouts in the last six seasons.
He needs to be given this contract because he is a strikeout pitcher who doesn’t allow many homers or walks as he hasn’t allowed more than 18 homers, walked more than 63 batters or struck out fewer than 240 batters in the previous two seasons.
Scherzer has also done very well in some of the new sabermetric stats. He WHIP, which is walks plus hits divided by innings pitched, has been an outstanding 1.175 and 0.970 during the last two seasons. Scherzer’s FIP, which measures a pitchers effectiveness at preventing walks, homers and hit by pitches and causing strikeouts, was seventh in league in 2013 and 11th last season. He had the third highest strikeouts per nine innings in MLB with 10.29 and had the seventh best Wins Above Replacement (WAR) among starters.
Scherzer, who will be starting his eighth season and seventh complete season after making his debut in 2008 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, has not had any significant injuries during his career with the Diamondbacks and Tigers. Tanaka and Pineda, who pitched very well when healthy last season, both had their seasons interrupted by injuries.
Tanaka should be relied on next year and was an All-Star in his rookie season after posting stats of 140 strikeouts, a 2.77 ERA, 14 wins, 1.056 WHIP and only 21 walks in 136 innings. However, he missed about 11 starts after his start against the Cleveland Indians on July 8 because of elbow inflammation. An MRI revealed that he had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He will be a bit of an unknown until he can stay healthy the whole season, but according to Brendan Kuty, Joe Girardi said he is expecting Tanaka to “make his 32 starts” in 2014.
Pineda, who is an imposing pitcher with a 6’7″, 265 pound frame, had an outstanding 1.89 ERA and 59 strikeouts in only 13 starts. His strikeout to walk ratio was remarkable since he only walked seven batters, and his 0.8 walks per nine innings proves how effective he was. His curveball, slider and fastball combo make him very difficult to hit.
However, after being an All-Star with the Mariners in 2011 and being traded to the Yankees in January of 2012, Pineda has had tendinitis in his right shoulder and then an anterior labral tear in his right shoulder that caused him to miss the 2012 season. He began the 2013 season on the 60-day DL as he was still recovering from the shoulder surgery he had as a result of the labral tear in his right shoulder. He was activated in July and pitched six games in the minors.
He pitched his first game for the Yankees on April 5, 2014 and had his first of many dominating performances. However, while pitching in a simulated game while serving his 10-game suspension for pine tar usage, he suffered a Grade 1 strain of his Teres Major muscle below his right shoulder. This injury forced him to the miss the months of May, June and July.
Tanaka and Pineda proved to be very effective when not injured last season, but their health question marks combined with Sabathia’s decline and the fact that Warren is best suited for the bullpen proves that Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman need to give Scherzer the contract that he is looking for. If Pineda and Tanaka can stay healthy and only miss about five or six starts combined they would form an imposing top three in the rotation with Scherzer. The Yankees are already counting on Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran having better seasons than they did in 2014, which makes improving the rotation even more important towards making and advancing in the playoffs in 2015.