New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman Blows Game in Unusual Form, Losing 3-1 Vs Detroit

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

With the game going to the top of the ninth, New York Yankees hard-throwing lefty Aroldis Chapman was called from the bullpen to get three big outs, even though it wasn’t a save situation.

One problem: he didn’t get the job done.

The Detroit Tigers scored two runs off of Chapman before the Yankees were shut down in the ninth inning, losing 3-1.

After a strikeout to John Hicks, Niko Goodrum walked, then Dustin Peterson followed with a double to score Goodrum. Chapman then retired Grayson Greiner, but gave up a single to Jordy Mercer, which scored Peterson before finally retiring the side.

Dismal offense:

You couldn’t say that the Yankees had trouble hitting with runners in scoring position because there were barely any runners in scoring position. They only had three attempts with runners on second and/or third, and converted zilch.

Their only run came off a sacrifice fly by newly recalled Clint Frazier after DJ LeMahieu singled and new Yankee Mike Tauchman hit a ground rule double down the left field line.

Tauchman got his first career Yankee hit, while back-up catcher Austin Romine and also newly recalled Tyler Wade got their first hits of 2019.

Tanaka did his part for the New York Yankees:

Masahiro Tanaka had his second start of the 2019 season, and though he allowed several well hit balls to deep in the park, he got the job done. He pitched 6 2/3 innings while giving up eight hits, allowing one run, and striking out seven.

The 1-2 punch of the splitter and the slider seemed to work well yet again for the right-hander from Hyogo, Japan, getting most of his strikeouts from it along with a few fastballs. The splitter definitely worked the very best, minimizing contact with that pitch. The hard hit balls were with the slider and the fastball. Jeimer Candelario of the Tigers hit a hard double off of a curveball, one of the few he threw all night.

So despite not having his best stuff, anytime you pitch 6 2/3 innings and only give up run, it means that you are doing something right. Another good start for the righty, I just wish there could be more offense.

The rubber match of the series will be Wednesday late-afternoon with a 4:05PM start time.  Jonathan Loaisiga will take the ball against the Tigers’ Matthew Boyd. The game will be on YES Network and Fox Sports Go.

New York Yankees: Will Austin Romine remain the Yankees Back-up catcher?

In 2018, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez missed a good portion of the season because of groin injuries throughout the season. When he went down, back-up catcher Austin Romine did a great job behind the plate, but in the case for Yankees fans, did Romine do “too good of a job” in the sense that he could be traded to another team to take the role as a starting catcher? If that were to happen, would Kyle Higashioka do a good enough job as the back-up?

Is Romine deserving of a starting job elsewhere?

Around the trade deadline last season, the first rumors emerged that teams would possibly be interested in acquiring Austin Romine in a trade for a pitcher. He caught a good amount of games from May into mid-summer when Sanchez was rehabbing his groin and found himself on the DL twice.

In 242 at-bats in 2018, Romine hit .244 and had an OBP of .295 while slugging .417. In addition, he had 10 HR and 42 RBIs. He has shown in the last three seasons that he is a more reliable defensive catcher with a fielding percentage of .994 and a significantly less number of pass balls, compared to 18 passed balls for Sanchez in just 74 starts behind the plate in 2018.

Another thing that attracts teams to Romine is his work ethic and passion of the game. In 2018, he won the Yankees “heart and hustle award”, and has previously worked so hard to try and get back to the major leagues after limited appearances in 2011, 2014, and 2015, and no appearances in 2012. He’s also been known to stand up for his teammates and call out opposing players when need be. His most famous example of that is his brawl with Miguel Cabrera in 2017 against the Tigers.

Could Kyle Higashioka do a good enough job?

Kyle Higashioka has also been constantly working as hard as he can for his shot. Despite many trips up and down from AAA since the beginning of 2017, he wasn’t able to get his first until 2018 when he hit a long home-run during Sunday Night Baseball against the Red Sox.

His first three major league hits were actually home-runs but only hit .167 in 72 AB. He did have solid defense, with just one error in 20 starts, but his arm needs work. He would generally put the throws on target, just not quick enough.

Higashioka clearly had trouble at-bat in 2018, and also struggled in AAA batting only .202. With that average, he should be lucky that the Yankees were relatively low on catching options because he could have easily been sent down to AA. His fielding percentage was even slightly lower with Trenton, at .986.

Kyle Higashioka clearly needs work to be MLB ready. Besides his fielding percentage, his hitting numbers are nowhere near ready to be the MLB back-up catcher. If the Yankees were to trade Romine, they would need to receive a MLB ready catcher in exchange or sign an MLB veteran catcher, or claim one off of waivers. Veterans Matt Weiters, Caleb Joseph, and Stephen Vogt are all free-agents and could work as a back-up if a trade were to happen.

New York Yankees: Sonny Gray has success despite loss to Astros

Sonny Gray had two options against the Houston Astros on Monday night—self-correct from earlier performances and prove he was worth the three top prospects he was traded for last season or self-destruct in Minute Maid Park at the hands of the world champions and watch his ERA inflate to epic proportions.

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Fortunately for Yankee fans, Gray chose the former and engaged the Astros Charlie Morton in a pitching duel. Gray’s six innings with four hits, two runs, three walks, and four strikeouts was certainly his best performance of the season and was enough to nearly keep pace with Morton’s outstanding performance going 7.2 innings with two hits, one run, two walks and ten strikeouts.

Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley noted that Gray was “aggressive and his command improved, allowing him to keep the Yankees in the game all night.”

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Austin Romine was behind the plate, a move the nuances of which no Yankee fan would have missed. Yankee Manager Aaron Boone has said that he would not have personal catchers for his pitchers; however, when asked after Monday’s game by Coley Harvey of ESPN if Romine would catch Gray’s next start, Harvey reports:

“Yankees manager Aaron Boone said following Gray’s strong six-inning, two-run, four-hit outing Monday that the right-hander likely would get another game with help from Austin Romine, the backup catcher who has caught his past two starts.”

Boone went on to say he hoped the move would help Gray get to the point where it won’t matter who catches him.

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Gray, however, spoke after the game to NJ.com’s Randy Miller, and said of his relationship with Romine:

“He just adapts to the game,” Gray said of Romine. “It flows and there’s great communication. Between innings, there’s constant communication, which for me is extremely beneficial with everything I try to do with the baseball.”

As a Yankee fan, I want Gray to be successful. If that means he has a personal catcher, so be it. It may be one of those decisions Boone backs away quietly from, especially if tonight’s stellar performance by Gray and Romine was any indication.

New York Yankees: The Ellsbury Effect

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

With the start of the Major League regular season a week away, the New York Yankees have a decision that needs to be made:

Who is making the roster to replace the oft injured Jacoby Ellsbury? Jacoby was at one time and six hours North of the Bronx a very productive Major League ballplayer. However, throughout his time in the pinstripes, Ellsbury has been less than a shell of his former self.

Ellsbury has played for the Yankees across four seasons, in that time he has only managed to have one season above “replacement level” production (2014), according to Baseball Reference’s OPS+. 2014 was Jacoby’s first season in the Bronx and his last truly productive season.

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Now, with Ellsbury set to begin the season on the shelf, this opens up a spot on the 25-man roster to “Break Camp” with the team heading North. Manager Aaron Boone told members of the media that Tyler Wade has made the ball club. Many believe that he will be the starting second baseman on Opening Day in Toronto on March 29th.


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The Yankees current roster consists of:

Catchers: Gary Sanchez & Austin Romine
First Baseman: Greg Bird
Second Basemen: Tyler Wade & Neil Walker
Third Baseman: Brandon Drury
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius & Ronald Torreyes
Left Fielder: Brett Gardner
Center Fielder: Aaron Hicks
Right Fielders: Aaron Judge & Giancarlo Stanton
Starting Pitcher: Luis Severino, Mashiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray & Jordan Montgomery
Relief Pitchers: David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Adam Warren & Chasen Shreve
Closer: Aroldis Chapman

Who Gets A Shot ?

That gives you 24 out of 25 players to start out the 2018 season for the New York Yankees. The injury to Ellsbury leaves an opening. Some who have thought that it could have been someone like Tyler Austin who was having a tremendous Spring, but he was reassigned back to Minor League camp on March 21st before the Yankees game against the Orioles. This however does leave the opening for the starter in the same game…. Luis Cessa.

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Cessa has been up and down for the Yankees since his acquisition by the Yankees in December of 2015. Cessa has pitched 106 innings for the Yankees to the tune of a 4.49 era. Luis will have an opportunity to show what he has earlier in the season as the Yankees will have five straight games to open up the start of the regular season.

The injury to Ellsbury could have been the golden ticket to the Bronx for a premium talent like Clint Frazier, however, they both went down at similar times and have stayed out recovering. Clint won’t be getting that opportunity.

This season will be a defining point for Clint Frazier, as with the number of outfielders already on the Major League roster and an impending free agent who hasn’t been shy about stating his fandom for the Pinstripes looming. Frazier once healed up from his concussion must set the world by storm, if he has any hopes of staying in Pinstripes.

Lasting Impression:

Jacoby, much like Clint Frazier, has seen the writing on the wall. And while his contract is rather cumbersome, it’s not impossible to think GM Brian Cashman can sell his talents to another team and move his monetary obligations elsewhere.

Ellsbury’s injury will be a foreshadowing of the potential future the Yankees will have. If the first few weeks of the season pass and Ellsbury has not returned vying that 25th spot on the roster, he may be replaced by a rising prospect.

Jacoby Ellsbury will have a major effect on the Yankees success this season; when healthy he could be a productive fourth outfielder, if unhealthy his spot will provide the launching pad for the top prospects in the top sixth farm system in all of baseball.

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