The Yankees only made one trade before today’s 4 p.m. trade deadline. On Thursday, the Yankees acquired Seattle Mariners infielder/outfielder Dustin Ackley for prospects Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez. Joe Girardi likes the extreme versatility that Ackley brings to the team.
“The guy can play five spots and that’s pretty good,’’ the manager said. He has played first base, second base and all three outfield positions in his five seasons in the majors. He was the second overall pick in the 2009 draft and could perform much better in Yankee Stadium than he did in Safeco Park. From 2012-2014, Ackely had a .316 average in 38 at-bats with two homers and six RBIs.
He is having the worst year of his his five-year career this season, but he has more upside than the players the Yankees traded. He has a .215 average in 207 at-bats with six homers, eight doubles, 19 RBIs, two steals and a .366 slugging percentage. Garrett Jones, who Ackley has better stats than, was dropped from the roster when Ackely was added to the team today.
It was announced today that Luis Severino‘s next start will be with the Yankees. This is the right time to call him because Micael Pineda is now on the disabled list with a right flexor forearm muscle strain and he doesn’t have anything else to prove with Triple-A Scranton. In 11 starts this season with the RailRiders, Severino has a 7-0 record with an outstanding 1.91 ERA, 50 strikeouts and a very good 0.92 WHIP.
The Yankees (57-44) currently have a 6-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East. The Yankees begin a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago in what will be the end of their 10-game road trip. The White Sox have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games to move back into contention for a wild card spot.
The White Sox (49-51) have former Yankees Melky Cabrera and David Robertson on their roster. Nathan Eovaldi, who will be starting tonight, is 5-0 with a 2.83 ERA in his last seven starts. Here are the pitching matchups for the series:
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (10-2, 4.27)
LHP Carlos Rodon (4-3, 4.09)
8:10 p.m., YES Network
LHP John Danks (5-8, 4.97)
7:10 p.m., WPIX
RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 3.38)
RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-5, 3.94)
2:10 p.m., YES Network and TBS
On Friday afternoon, the Yankees placed Carlos Beltran on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 1. He is on the DL due to a left oblique stain. Taylor Dugas who was surprisingly called up to the Yankees on Wednesday, was sent back down to Triple-A Scranton.
Beltran now joins Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list, which means that two out of their three Opening Day outfielders are on the DL. They will need Chris Young to continue hitting like he has been. In Beltran’s 66 games played this season (242 at-bats), he has a .260 average with seven homers, 18 doubles, 21 runs scored and 30 RBIs.
He has really improved over the last two months as he only had a .162 average at the end of April. After not hitting any homers and only driving in 12 runs in his first 26 games of the season, he went on to hit seven homers and drive 14 runs in his next 31 games. Beltran, who is 38, is batting .306 with a .500 slugging percentage and .883 OPS in his last 21 games.
The Yankees have recalled both middle infielder Gregorio Petit and outfielder Ramon Flores from the Scranton RailRiders. Flores, who has a very strong arm in left field, threw out a few runners at home while appearing in 10 games earlier this season. He had a .250 average with three runs scored and a double in his 28 at-bats. In his 225 at-bats this season with the RailRiders (59 games), Flores has a .289 average with six homers, 24 RBIs and 32 runs scored.
Petit, who has gone back and forth between the Yankees to Triple-A this season, has played second and third this season. Petit, who is 30 and in his first year as a back-up infielder with the Yankees, has a .184 average with five RBIs and six runs scored in 38 at-bats this season. However he has hit much better while playing for Scranton this season as he has a .333 average in 42 at-bats with four RBIs and eight runs scored. He will mainly be relied upon to provide solid defense.
Neither Flores or Petit will get the start tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays, as the Yankees will play the same lineup as they did during Wednesday’s win against the Angels. The Rays and Toronto Blue Jays are both one game behind the Yankees (42-37) and Baltimore Orioles, who are both tied for first place in the very competitive AL East.
After this series, the Yankees will play three games against the Oakland Athletics (37-45) and then three games against the Red Sox (37-44) before the All-Star break. It is important that the Yankees win six or more games in this nine-game stretch because all three teams are either struggling or at least seven games under .500.
Here are the pitching matchups against the Rays, who have lost eight of their previous 10 games.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (4-3, 3.88)
RHP Chris Archer (9-5, 2.31)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
RHP Michael Pineda (8-5, 4.08)
RHP Nathan Karns (4-4, 3.26)
1:05 p.m., FS1
RHP Ivan Nova (1-1, 1.50 ERA)
RHP Erasmo Ramirez (6-3, 4.01)
1:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
On Tuesday night, the Yankees (33-25) beat the Washington Nationals, 6-1, at Yankee Stadium in the first game of the series. The Yankees have won seven games in a row (and eight of their last nine) and their starting pitchers have impressively allowed two runs or less in all seven of those games. That is a recipe for success.
Masahiro Tanaka had his first start at Yankee Stadium since coming off of the disabled list and was able to outpitch Nationals ace Max Scherzer. Tanaka threw seven innings and allowed five hits, one earned run and zero walks. He had six strikeouts and retired the side in order in the first, second and third innings. Scherzer, who had a 1.85 ERA coming into the game, allowed four earned runs and eight hits in 6.2 innings pitched.
The only run that the Nationals scored off of Tanaka was a Bryce Harper homer in the fourth inning. Tanaka has had excellent command since coming off of the DL since he has 15 strikeouts and no walks in his two starts, and he has allowed one run in both of his starts lowering his ERA from 3.22 to 2.48.
Since coming off of the DL, he has pitched like he did during his first 16 starts last season when he had a Cy Young caliber first three months with a 2.10 ERA (11-3). He would later go on the disabled list for 2.5 months due to a partially torn UCL after two ineffective starts. Tanaka and Michael Pineda (3.33 ERA) combine to form a reliable, dominant and elite top of the rotation that could give the team an edge in a playoff series.
Tanaka incredibly threw 63 of his 87 pitches for strikes and proved to not let pitching at Yankee Stadium get to him.
“I think he enjoys the stage,” Joe Girardi said. “I do. I think that is one of the reasons he came to New York. I think he likes the competition and the excitement of pitching here. I think he likes it.”
The Yankees scored two of their six runs on home runs. Stephen Drew hit a homer in the third to give the team a 1-0 lead and then hit another solo blast in the eighth to make the score 6-1. This was the second time in his last four games that he has hit two homers in a game and he hit a solid .292 in June to improve his average from .143 to .175. Drew’s average is still very low for an everyday player, but his nine homers are the second most among second basemen in the American League.
Brian McCann hit a single to right in the seventh to score Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez and later in the inning Carlos Beltran singled to left to send Mark Teixeira home to make the score 5-1.
Ramon Flores, who scored a run in the seventh on a fielder’s choice by Rodriguez, went 3-4 to raise his average to .269. Flores was sent back down to Triple-A Scranton before Wednesday’s game to make room for infielder Brendan Ryan. Flores, who has a strong arm in left field as he has thrown out two runners trying to score at home in his seven games, is arguably more valuable to the Yankee than Ryan while Jacoby Ellsbury in on the DL, but Ryan is back on the roster because he is healthy and they feel they have to use him since they are paying him a lot more.
Ryan is starting Wednesday’s 1:05 p.m. game at shortstop giving Didi Gregorius a day off. Nathan Eovaldi will try to get his sixth win of the season and give the Yankees their eighth win in a row.
The Yankees (26-25) lost to the Oakland Athletics by the score of 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum. That was their third loss in four games to the worst team in the American League.
The Yankees, who are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East, struggled on the road during the month of May. The team played 19 games away from Yankees Stadium and they came away with a loss in 12 of those games and overall they went 13 and 16 during the second month of the season.
Adam Warren pitched 7.0 innings and this was his fourth consecutive start that he pitched more than 6.0 innings but the offense was not able to do its part to get him his fourth win of the season. Warren, whose ERA is now a solid 3.75 after it was a much higher 4.78 on May 3, only allowed allowed two runs in seven innings while recording four strikeouts. He has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last three starts and deserves to stay in the rotation when Masahiro Tanaka comes off of the disabled list (this might not happen because the team needs help in the bullpen).
However, the home run proved to be Warren’s weakness once again. In the sixth inning, after Warren had retired the side in order in the fifth inning, Stephen Vogt hit a homer to drive in Billy Burns to give the Athletics a 2-0 lead. Vogt’s 11th homer of the season barely made it over the wall in right. That was the only hit the Athletics had with runners in scoring position in seven chances, but it ended up being costly for the Yankees.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Warren said. “I feel like I have given the team a chance to win.”
The Yankees had eight hits, which is as many as the Athletics had, but they were not able to score a run because they were 0-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base. Brett Gardner was 0-4, Carlos Beltran was 0-3 after having two hits and three RBIs on Saturday and John Ryan Murphy was 0-3 with two strikeouts.
The only highlights offensively were Didi Gregorius and Alex Rodriguez. Gregorius had two hits in three at-bats and is on a modest three-game hitting streak. Rodriguez, who was 2-4 and is on a 10-game hitting streak, is now only 14 hits away from tying Roberto Clemente and becoming the 29th baseball player with 3,000 hits. When Rodriguez gets his next hit he will have 2,987 and will have tied Sam Rice for 29th place on the all-time list.
A notable highlight from a personal standpoint happened in the second inning as Ramon Flores had his first major-league hit. The Yankees had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the second, but Jose Pirela hit a hard line drive to second for a double play. In the fifth inning, Gardner also grounded into a double play. Pirela hit a single during the game in addition to his hard line drive and deserves more of a chance at second since Stephen Drew has a .157 average.
“Pirela swung the bat well today,” Joe Girardi said. “We will continue to evaluate and go from there. We were not able to do much after the second inning. We have been streaky. You turn the page and then get ready for Seattle.”
Brian McCann, who had an 8-game hitting streak coming into the game, pinch hit in the ninth inning and struck out on a changeup to end the game. The Yankees were shutout for the second time this season.
The Yankees will now play a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. The Mariners are in fourth place in the AL West with a 24-26 record. The first game of the series, which will be played at 10:10 p.m. EST, will be a marquee pitching matchup between aces Felix Hernandez (8-1, 1.91) and Michael Pineda (6-2, 3.36). Tanaka will make his anticipated return from the disabled list during the series.
Here are the rest of the pitching matchups for the series:
LHP CC Sabathia (2-7, 5.67)
10:10 p.m., YES Network
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 3.22)
RHP Taijuan Walker (2-5, 6.18)
3:40 p.m., YES Network
Slade Heathcott, who has a .353 average with a homer and three RBIs in his 17 at-bats since coming up from Triple-A after Jacoby Ellsbury was put on the disabled list, was put on the 15-day DL on Friday with a Grade II quad strain. The Yankees have called up Ramon Flores to replace him on the roster. Heathcott made four starts and proved to be much better in the outfield than Carlos Beltran.
Heatcott told reporters on Thursday that his quad had been hurting him off an on since the offseason. The former top prospect has had many injuries throughout his minor-league career and this is another one that he will have to overcome. Joe Girardi said that since Ellsbury is on the DL in addition to Heathcott, he will use Brett Gardner more often now going forward. Heathcott had been playing in center field since being called up on May 20.
That Yankees will miss Heathcott’s defense and productive play on offense, but Flores has been playing very well at Triple-A Scranton. Flores, who is 23, has hit .294/.389/.425 with four homers, four doubles and 15 RBIs. He has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage this season with five outfield assists. The Venezuala native has one or more hits in eight of his last 10 games including four multi-hit games. He was close to being called up even if Heathcott did not get injured.
The Yankees, who lost Thursday night’s series opener to the Athletics in Oakland 5-4, will look to bounce back with Chris Capuano pitching. The pitching matchup is not on the Yankees side as Capuano has a 7.36 ERA in his two starts and Sonny Gray has an American League leading 1.77 ERA in his 10 starts this season. However, the Athletics do have the worst record in the AL.
This is the lineup for tonight’s game against the Athletics at O.co Coliseum:
Brett Gardner LF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Garrett Jones 1B
Stephen Drew 2B
Chris Young CF
Didi Gregorius SS