Tagged: Miami Marlins

The inconsistent Nathan Eovaldi has officially been released by the Yankees

Nathan Eovaldi

Nate Eovaldi – Lo Hud Yankees Blog

On Monday, the Yankees officially announced that the injured Nate Eovaldi has been released from the team. He had been designated for assignment on November 20.

The Yankees traded for the flame-throwing righty on December 14, 2014. They traded infielder/outfielder Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps to the Miami Marlins for Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and Domingo German.

In the 2014 season with the Marlins, he had a mediocre 4.37 ERA and his 223 hits allowed were the most in the National League. However, the Yankees traded for him because he set career highs with 32 games started and 199.2 innings pitched and his average fastball velocity was the second fastest in the National League.

He showed positives and some negatives during his two seasons with the Yankees but didn’t show enough improvement in his secondary pitches to make the Yankees want to keep him while he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

On August 16 of this season it was announced that he would miss the rest of the 2016 seasons and likely all of the 2017 season due to a torn flexor tendon and partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. The Yankees announced that he had undergone his second Tommy John surgery a few days later.

In the 2015 season, he led all MLB starting pitchers with an average fastball velocity of 96.6 MPH. His velocity didn’t lead to much more success than he had in 2014. His ERA of 4.20 was better than the 4.37 he had the previous season but his 1.45 WHIP was worse than his 1.33 WHIP from his last season with the Marlins. His fastball averaged 97.1 in the games that he appeared in this season.

In 2015, he missed the month of September because of elbow inflammation and the month of August raised his ERA and WHIP as he allowed three runs or more in four of his last five starts and allowed five hits or more in three of those five starts. That performance in August was disappointing because in nine starts between June 20 and August 7 he allowed two runs or less seven times while giving up two walks or less in six of those starts. He showed how dominant he can be during that stretch when he locates his pitches and throws his secondary pitches where he wants them to go.

Eovaldi was able to develop a split-fingered fastball with the help of Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild, which helped him improve during that nine start stretch and for periods of the 2016 season. In addition to the splitter, according go Brooks Baseball, he relied on his fourseam fastball (98), slider (87) and cutter (94). He rarely mixed in his curve ball.

Eovaldi entered the 2016 campaign fully healthy but allowed five and four runs in each of his first two starts. He allowed three and zero runs in his last two games in April and his next two months alternated between pitching well overall and not deserving to be in the rotation.

In May, he opened the month by allowing six runs in five innings on 10 hits against the Red Sox but pitched well the rest of the month as he allowed two runs or less in four of his next five starts. However he wasn’t able to continue that momentum into July and his first start in August.

The 26-year-old Houston native, who grew up in the same town as Nolan Ryan, gave up a combined 31 earned runs in 30.1 innings in six starts, which caused the Yankees to move him to the bullpen. It is not acceptable for a starting pitcher to allow four runs or more in six straight starts, which included five or more in five of those starts.

He would go on to make eight more appearances with the Yankees before his season ended. Eovaldi made three appearances out of the bullpen after his awful start on August 1 and combined to pitch 7.2 innings while allowing three hits and striking out four. The bullpen is where he might make sense after he recovers from Tommy John surgery since has some trouble with his non fastball and slider pitches.

In his first start after returning to the rotation he performed well as he limited the Baltimore Orioles to one run in 5.1 innings but was progressively worse in his next three starts. He allowed two, three and four runs in his last three starts and in his final start, against the crosstown rival Mets, he gave up four runs on five hits (two homers) and two walks.

It’s unfortunate that he was not able to truly pitch well for a consistent amount of games while with the Yankees because his velocity is elite and he has solid secondary pitches when everything is going well. The splitter that he developed did help but it would not have made sense for the Yankees to keep him while he recovered from Tommy John surgery during all of the 2017 season.

Another reason that he would make sense for the bullpen is that a pitcher with his fastball velocity should be able to have more strikeouts than he does, and it is possible that concentrating on two pitches will help lead to more strikeouts. He will be most remembered for lighting up the scoreboard with 100 plus mph pitches, his very good month of May this season and his very good month of July plus last season.

 

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A-Rod got hit 2,998 and 2,999 in the Yankees 9-4 win over the Miami Marlins in the Bronx

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

The Yankees (36-30, one-game out of first place) had 15 hits in their 9-4 win over the Marlins on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. Two of those 15 hits came off of Alex Rodriguez’s bat, which now gives him 2,999 for his career.

The Yankees won their 15th come from behind game of the season. Rodriguez’s single in the first drove in Brett Gardner in for the first run of the game.  He was very thankful when the fans cheered for him after each at-bat. “I think their support has helped me play a lot better.”

“He is a guy who we look to for guidance and we missed him last year,” Gardner said in reference to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez’s single in the fifth gave him 2,999 and it appeared that they would score a few runs that inning. Mark Teixeira doubled to right to advance Rodriguez to third, but Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran were retired by Mat Latos. The Marlins had a 5-1 lead at the end of the fifth as the Yankees were 1-9 with runners in scoring position at that point, but the offense really improved going forward.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a homer to left in the top of the sixth off of CC Sabathia in what was his major-league leading 25th home run.

In the sixth inning, Mason Williams (.263) hit his second double of the game and then was driven home when Brett Gardner hit a homer to right center. In the seventh inning, Carlos Beltran, who is hitting .316 in the last seven days and a solid .294 in May and June, hit a long two-run homer over the State Farm sign in left to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead.

“Mason has made some nice little adjustments,” Girardi said about Williams’s performance at the plate.

In the eighth inning, the Yankees scored four runs to put the game away. Sam Dyson walked Rodriguez on four inside fastballs nearly hitting him, which put runners on first and second. The crowd booed Dyson because they wanted Rodriguez to have a chance at 3,000. McCann singled up the middle to score Chase Headley, Rodriguez’s then scored on Dyson’s wild pitch that went to the McDonald’s sign behind the plate and Chris Young doubled to deep left to score McCann.

With Vin Mizarro pitching, Stephen Drew, who was the only Yankee without a hit, hit a sacrifice fly to score Young for the team’s ninth run.

“We had a ton of opportunities early on and were just not able to cash in,” Joe Girardi said. “We were able to tack on four more so you don’t have to use Dellin tonight.”

CC Sabathia got the start for the Yankees and allowed three runs in six innings, while striking out seven and not walking anyone. He has now allowed three runs or less in three of his previous four starts. With Sabathia’s strikeout of Adeiny Hechevarria in the fourth, he passed Christy Mathewson for 30th place on the all-time strikeouts list.

He would have liked to have pitched seven innings, but he realizes that he can’t consistently pitch that deep into games anymore. Sabathia had a perfect game through three innings before Dee Gordon’s triple to lead off the fourth.

“It’s good,” Sabathia said. “I go out there as hard as hard I can until I am done. It is just frustrating for me that I can only give him six innings at a time.”

“He did a good job, to limit them to three runs against a team that hits well against lefties, he did a good job,” Girardi said.

Didi Gregorius made an outstanding play in the ninth when he dove past second to stop the ball and then flipped it behind his back for the force out at second. The Marlins tacked on a run in the ninth off of Chris Martin, but he would strikeout Gordon on a 94mph fastball to end the game.

After sweeping the two-game set against the Marlins, the Yankees will continue their homestand with a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers (34-32). More people will be paying attention to tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game than normal because Rodriguez might get hit No. 3,000 against former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. Rodriguez has hit .357 (10-28) in the regular season against Verlander, who is making his second start of the season.

Michael Pineda will look to end the two-game losing streak that the Yankees are on

Nathan Eovaldi

Nathan Eovaldi

The Yankees lost the the Marlins on Tuesday, 12-2, and Nathan Eovaldi had by far the worst start of his season on Tuesday night against the Miami Marlins. He might have put too much pressure on himself ahead of pitching against his former team as he was not even able to pitch one inning. He allowed the Marlins to score eight runs on nine hits in 0.2 innings, which raised his ERA from 4.13 to 5.12.

The first inning might have been different if the Marlins No. 3 hitter, Christian Yelich, didn’t get to first as a result of Didi Gregorius bobbling the grounder that he hit, but Eovaldi didn’t locate his pitches after Yelich’s single, which should have been an error on Gregorius. Eovaldi threw far too many of his secondary pitches in the middle of the plate, which led to nine of the 11 batters that he faced getting a hit.

The eight runs that the Marlins scored in the first inning were a franchise-high.

I was just keeping a whole lot of balls up in the zone,” Eovaldi said. “I was looking forward to this start, and I felt good getting ready today. It’s very frustrating.”

Brian McCann single to right in the sixth that scored Gregorius was his 40th RBI of the season. McCann has the second most RBIs in the American League among catchers. In the seventh inning, pinch-hitter Mason Williams doubled to left to score Stephen Drew. That was his second hit in his 12 at-bats since being called up from Triple-A.

The Yankees will look to bounce back tonight at Yankee Stadium against the Marlins after losing to them on Monday and Tuesday in Miami. The Marlins are now 29-37 and seven games behind the Mets in the NL East. The Yankees are 34-30 and a game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for first in the AL East.

Michael Pineda, who allowed five earned runs in 4.1 innings in his previous outing, will get the start for the Yankees. He has struggled this season and last season when pitching on extra rest, and is on normal rest tonight, so that could mean that he will be able to command his changeup and slider like he has for most of the season.

Pineda, who is 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA, has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his 12 starts this season. He will have the benefit of pitching against the weaker Marlins lineup tonight.

Before tonight’s game, the Yankees called up Jose DePaula from Triple-A Scranton to give them a fresh long man since Chris Capuano threw four innings last night.

Mark Teixeira, who has three multi-hit games in his last six games, will get the night off after playing in the previous 10 games (this included two off days). Garrett Jones will get the start at first base against his former team. Here is the lineup for tonight’s game against Miami:

Brett Gardner LF

Chase Headley 3B

Brian McCann C

Alex Rodriguez DH

Garrett Jones 1B

Carlos Beltran RF

Didi Gregorius SS

Stephen Drew 2B

Mason Williams CF

Garrett Jones will get the start in right field against his former team

Garrett Jones.

Garrett Jones

On Sunday, Joe Girardi said that Alex Rodriguez will not start the two games in Miami since there is no DH in the National League, which means that he will only have pinch-hitting opportunities to get closer to 3,000 hits. He currently has 2,995 hits and is five hits away from tying Roberto Clemente to become the 29th baseball player in the 3,000 hit club.

Garrett Jones will be back in the lineup in right field tonight after previously playing all three games of the series against the Baltimore Orioles. He has been a back-up this season and is playing in place of Carlos Beltran for the second game in a row. Jones, who has a .300 batting average (6-20) in his last nine games with two homers and six RBIs, will be playing in his first game against his former team. Jones played for the Marlins during the 2014 season and hit 15 homers with 53 RBIs.

Mark Teixeira, who has Brian McCann hitting in front of him instead of Rodriguez, is on a five-game hitting streak with three two-hit games in his last five. This hitting streak has raised his average from .237 to .256. His 17 homers, 47 RBIs and .571 slugging percentage has given him the fourth most votes among first basemen for the All-Star Game in the American League.

The Kansas City Royals players led eight of the nine positions in the American League All-Star Game voting update that was released on Monday. The one that makes the least amount of sense is that Omar Infante, who has arguably been the worst second baseman in the AL, currently has more votes than any second basemen. Brian McCann’s 1,154,530 votes are the fourth most among catchers and Rodriguez’s 1,176,506 votes are the fifth most among designated hitters.

This is the lineup for tonight’s game against the Miami Marlins:

Brett Gardner LF

Chase Headley 3B

Brian McCann C

Mark Teixeira 1B

Garrett Jones RF

Stephen Drew 2B

Didi Gregorius SS

Mason Williams CF

Masahiro Tanaka will get his first at-bat of the season during his start tonight against the Marlins

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees (34-28) play the first game of their two-game series in Miami against the Marlins (27-37) today at 7:10 p.m. After this series at the state-of-the-art Marlins Park, the Yankees will play the Marlins at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday. It is rare that American League and National League teams play two series in a row at their respective stadiums.

Masahiro Tanaka, who will get his third start for the Yankees since coming off of the disabled list, will be pitching against the Marlins for the first time. He has allowed one run in both of his starts since coming off of the DL on June 3, and he has an impressive 15 strikeouts and zero walks in those two starts.

His previous two starts, against the Mariners and Nationals, prove that he is back to pitching the way he did last season when he was on track to possibly winning the Cy Young before going on the disabled list for 2.5 months. His ERA, which was a solid 3.22 ERA before his DL stint due to wrist and forearm issues, is now an outstanding 2.48. He is also, 4-1, with a 0.80 WHIP and .172 batting average against.

Tanaka pitching at Marlins Park means that he will step up to the plate for the fourth time in his career. Last season he did so three times when the Yankees played at the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. He had one hit in his nine at-bats last season.

It will be important for him not to overextend himself if he gets to first base so that he does not get injured on the bases like Chien-Ming Wang did while running the bases in 2008. Wang injured his right foot on June 15 of 2008 and ended up having to miss the rest of the season. The Yankees want Tanaka, who forms a dominant top of the rotation with Michael Pineda, to stay healthy the rest of the season and don’t want him to have to miss time for an injury that has nothing to do with pitching.

Tom Koehler, who is in his third full major-league season, will get the start for the Marlins. He will be pitching against his hometown team as he was born in the Bronx and went to college at Stony Brook. He has a 4.00 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 28 walks in 12 starts this season.

He throws a four-seam fastball (93mph), knuckle curve (80mph), slider (87mph) and sinker (93mph).

In the second game of the series on Tuesday, Nathan Eovaldi (5-1, 4.13 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees and former Yankee David Phelps (4-3, 4.11 ERA) will get the start for Miami. Eovaldi has a 2.92 ERA in his two starts in June.

He is coming off of a start where he tied a season-high with his 7.0 innings while striking out four and allowing three earned runs. In his first June start, Eovaldi allowed only one run in 5.1 innings, but had to leave in the fifth because he had walked four and allowed four hits.

Eovaldi has struggled in the sixth inning in many of his starts. Also, in starts where he has allowed one or more homers he has allowed three runs or more four out of five times and in starts when he has not allowed a homer he has allowed one run or less three out of five times. He has located his secondary pitches and thrown his fastball in the right count better recently since he has allowed one earned run in two out of his last four starts.

Phelps is coming off a start on June 11 when he did not allow a run in eight innings pitched. However, in his previous start he allowed nine runs in only 3.2 innings. Phelps, who made a 11 starts for the Yankees last season, was traded along with Martin Prado to the Marlins on December 14 for Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and Domingo German.

Jones, who is in his eighth season, has a .254 average with three homers and 10 RBIs. He has hit much better the previous three weeks since he had a .150 average on May 20 with no homers and 1 RBI.

Since the National League does not have the DH, Joe Girardi said that he doesn’t plan on starting Alex Rodriguez in the field.

I never welcome days off,” he said. “I love to play. But it worked pretty well for me in Washington; after those two days off, I swung the bat pretty well at home.

Nathan Eovaldi thinks that pitching coach Larry Rothschild is awesome

Nate Eovaldi pitching for the Marlins.

Nate Eovaldi pitching for the Marlins.

The Yankees acquired Nate Eovaldi on December 19, 2014. They traded Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Miami Marlins for Domingo German, Garrett Jones and Eovaldi. Eovaldi’s 25th birthday is today, and this trade gives the Yankees a flamethrower who has the potential to help the rotation for years to come.

In 2013, Eovaldi’s ERA (3.39) and WHIP (1.317) were the lowest of his four-year career.  Eovaldi allowed the most hits in the National League last season and had a high 4.37 ERA, but he did set career highs with 33 games started, 142 strikeouts and 199.2 innings pitched. The hard-throwing righty averaged 95.5 miles per hour on his fastball last season, which was the fourth fastest in all of baseball.

However, he does need to improve and rely on his secondary pitches more, in order to keep hitters off balance, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild could be the pitching coach to help him do just that.

According to Evoaldi, the two have developed chemistry so far. Pitchers and catchers have not officially reported yet, but Eovaldi has already thrown a few bullpen sessions with Rothschild watching. “We’ve already begun to work on things,” Eovaldi said after a workout at the Yankees’ minor-league complex this week. “He’s awesome. It’s going to be a lot of fun working with him this year.”

In 2014, Eovaldi primarily threw a four-seam fastball, slider (87mph) and curve (77mph). His slider generates more groundballs than other pitchers’ sliders and is harder than usual. He threw a change and sinker much less frequently last season. He often reverted to his fastball when he was in a in trouble last season, and the opposition came to expect it, so if he can improve his slider and curve in spring training he could have an ERA closer to the one he had in 2013.

In their bullpen sessions so far, they have been working on getting more consistency in his off-speed pitches. If he can successfully mix in his off-speed pitches while continuing to accurately throwing his elite fastball, he could go from being a average starter with a an elite heater to a consistently reliable one with All-Star ability.

(He is due to have a lower ERA this season because his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching – strikeouts, walks and home runs calculate what the ERA should have been) last season was a career-low 3.37 as a result of allowing about the same amount of walks and 64 more strikeouts than he did in 2013.)

He also recently reflected on his 2014 season, which had some positives and negatives. “I accomplished a lot that I wanted to,” Eovaldi said. “I stayed healthy. I got a lot of innings under my belt, controlled my walks. But my ERA was a lot higher than I would have liked it to (have) been and I gave up too many hits.”

The young emerging pitcher is proving to have a desire to improve on last season since he is putting in extra work with Rothschild. The fifth-year Yankees pitching coach, who helped Ivan Nova win 16 games in his rookie season, is very good at dealing with the mental and mechanical aspect of pitching, which should help Eovaldi improve his non-fastball pitches as well as adjust to pitching at Yankee Stadium and in the AL East.

The Yankees traded Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins for Nate Eovaldi, Garrett Jones & Domingo German

Nate Eovaldi pitching for the Marlins

Nate Eovaldi pitching for the Marlins

On Friday, in a surprise to many, the Yankees traded Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Miami Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and pitching prospect Domingo German.

Eovaldi, who is a starting pitcher who will turn 25 in February, is known for his dominating fastball that averages 96 mph while having a low strikeout total (142 in 199.2 innings last season) because he struggles with his location. He was traded from the Dodgers to the Marlins in 2012 in the blockbuster Hanley Ramirez deal. He has made 83 appearances (79 starts) while pitching 460 innings combined with the Dodgers and Marlins and has a deceiving record of 15-35 with a 4.07 ERA.

He had a 6-14 record while posting an ERA 4.24 last season. However, the former 11th-round draft pick out of Alvin High in Texas, had by far his best season of his career in 2013 as he showed his potential recording a 3.39 ERA in his 18 starts. If he can locate his overpowering fastball in the corners instead of throwing right down the middle like he often does he could have another season like he did in 2013.

Consistency and immaturity are his main issues as a pitcher. This is what an NL advanced scout said about Eovaldi: “He has No. 2 starter stuff, throws 98, but is very immature. His response to any trouble is to throw harder.” His 95.7 average fastball last season was the 4th best in all of baseball. In 2014, he relied primarily on his fastball and slider (87 mph), while also mixing in a curve (77 mph). He threw his changeup (77 mph) and sinker (97 mph) much less than his other three pitches. He will be more consistent if he relies more on his secondary pitches like his curve, change and sinker so that he will not only be throwing his fastball when he gets in trouble.

It would have been ideal if the Yankees could have kept Martin Prado, who plays well defensively at second, third and outfield and hit .316 with seven homers and 16 RBIs with the Yankees after being traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Brian Cashman essentially turned Peter O’Brien into two months of Prado, and then turned Prado and David Phelps into Eovaldi, Jones and German.

Phelps is a pitcher that the Yankees will not miss as they tried to trade him last winter as well. The 28-year-old made his debut for the Yankees in April of 2012 after being drafted in 2008 and has appeared in 87 games and made 40 starts. He has a 4.21 ERA in 299.1 innings and has had ERAs of 4.38 and 4.98 the last two seasons. His WHIP has gotten worse the last two seasons and he basically is a No. 5 pitcher and middle reliever at this point without much upside.

The trade of Prado will initially hurt the Yankees in the infield, as he would have been the starter at second after they re-signed Chase Headley earlier in the week, but it opens up a spot for Rob Refsnyder, who has the ability to be a better overall second baseman eventually than Prado. Refsnyder, who is likely their second baseman of the present and future, could struggle a little in the beginning defensively. However, he is known for his ability with the bat and, after playing outfield in college, his defense his greatly improved.

In the 2014 season, Refsnyder had only three errors in 64 games at second base with the AAA-Scranton RailRiders after committing nine errors in 58 games with the AA-Trenton Thunder. In 2013, he had a combined 25 errors with two levels of A ball, which further proves his defensive development. He has hit well throughout the minors, with a .297 average in 313 games. In 137 games last season, Refsnyder hit .318 with 14 homers and 63 RBIs. This move will allow him to show his talents earlier than if Prado was still on the team. (The Yankees will miss Prado’s defensive versatility since he can play left field, right field, second base and third base.)

German is the second pitcher that the Yankees got in the deal. He is a 22-year old who was #8 on MLB.COM’s Top 10 Marlins prospects list. He has a 2.33 ERA in five seasons, and in 2014 while pitching for Single-A Greensboro in the South Atlantic League, he had an impressive 2.48 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 113 strikeouts in 25 starts. Those stats are impressive even though that league is pitcher friendly. Cashman said that he will probably begin the season with High-A Tampa, and it seems like he could be in the big league rotation in the next two or three seasons. He could be a hidden gem of this trade.

Jones is the third player that the Yankees received and he should further diminish Alex Rodriguez’s role on the team. The 33-year-old didn’t make his MLB debut until he was 25 and didn’t get regular playing time until he was 28 in 2009. He has hit 15 homers or more in each of the past six seasons. His average was only .246 last season, but in 2012, he had a solid all-around season as he had a .274 average with 24 homers and 86 RBIs. He played in 129 games at first base last season, but he can be relied on to play the corner outfield positions as well.

This trade makes the Yankees rotation younger as they will have Masahiro Tanaka (26), Michael Pineda (25), Eovaldi (24) and Ivan Nova (27) all 27 or younger. This move means that they will not be getting Max Scherzer, but if Eovaldi can pitch like he did in 2013, this will prove to be a smart trade. Jones’s ability to play first base and outfield will ensure that the Yankees have a reliable back-up to Mark Teixeira and give them a player with power to put in the outfield since Carlos Beltran will inevitably have to miss time.

Losing Prado is definitely a drawback as he was a plus in the clubhouse and was a player who would do whatever it took to win, but the Eovaldi, Jones and German additions have the ability to help the team win in 2015 and in the future.