The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Sunday, August 6, 2017 Ellsbury sparks NY, backs Severino to top Tribe

Jacoby Ellsbury broke the game open, but Aaron Judge put it away. Both of their offensive heroics on Sunday afternoon helped power the Yankees to an 8-1 rout over the Indians at Progressive Field, salvaging a split of the four-game set between postseason hopefuls.

In supporting a stellar start by Yankees righty Luis Severino, Ellsbury delivered a three-run triple off Carlos Carrasco in the sixth, beginning the process of turning a pitchers’ duel into a blowout. Ellsbury’s shot to the right-field wall highlighted a five-run outpouring in the frame off Carrasco, who had stymied New York for the first five frames.

“It’s nice winning these last two games,” Ellsbury said. “Any time you win going into an off-day, it’s a better atmosphere on the plane. Nice two wins for us. They’re a great team that we’re playing, so to take two from them after we lost the first two feels good.”

With the win, the Yankees remain three games behind the Red Sox, who also won Sunday, in the American League East. The AL Central-leading Indians have a 2 1/2-game lead on the Royals, who split a doubleheader with the Mariners on Sunday.

This was one of the best wins of the season, because not only did they get a great performance from Luis Severino but they, you know, SCORED SOME GODDAMN RUNS. This broke a streak of five straight games where the opposing starting pitcher went seven innings and gave up one run or less. That’s insane. But here’s the crazy thing - they easily could have seen that streak meet six games if Terry Francona hadn’t managed the game oddly in the sixth inning. The Yankees opened the inning with two hits, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Based on recent history, you would figure either two strikeouts or a strikeout and a popup and THEN a fly ball, thus avoiding any chance of a run. The first Yankee batter, sure enough, popped up. Then Aaron Judge came up, who has been a strikeout machine recently and had already struck out once in the game…and Francona had him intentionally walked! Chase Headley then hit a flyball that scored a run and then Todd Frazier walked and then Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run triple and Ronald Torreyes singled Ellsbury in. But here’s the thing - if Judge strikes out, then Headley’s fly ball is the third out and no runs would have been scored. So thanks to Terry Francona big time for this win. Oh, and former Yankee Abe Almonte helped by having a terrible read on Ellsbury’s hit and turned it into a triple.

There was a notable roster move after the game, as Jordan Montgomery was optioned to Triple A. This was almost certainly a case of keeping his innings down in the second half of the season (he will likely pitch less frequently in the minors) and not an actual statement about thinking that Jaime Garcia is better than Montgomery, but it is still a shame, as Jaime Garcia is, you know, not better than Jordan Montgomery.

Off day tomorrow and then we shall see if Aaron Hicks will be back on Tuesday to be the new everyday DH. It will also be nice to see if Gary Sanchez is out of the dog house. I really hate seeing Austin Romine play one game, seeing him play two was a special kind of suck.

--Posted at 10:46 pm by Brian Cronin / 55 Comments | - (0)


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I missed it. What’d Sancho do ?

He hasn’t been doing the work on his defense that they’ve asked him to do. So they benched him as a sort of “cut the shit out” sort of thing.

From what I read Hixie will go to Trenton since Scranton will be on the road.  I guess since bringing back Holliday and Castro quickly didn’t quite work out they decided to play it conservatively with Hixie. I still wish they would bring up Andujar to DH at least until Hixie returns but that ain’t happening.

Yeah, that honestly makes some sense. It’s sort of like their deal with resting guys. It’s annoying in the short term but probably for the best in the long term.

Here’s an interesting debate I was having with my brother earlier (it only came up because his opponent in fantasy baseball this week has Chris Sale on his team). Sale pitches Tuesday. Therefore, based on a five man rotation, his next start would come on Sunday. However, the Red Sox have a super weird schedule this week, as they are off on Monday AND on Thursday, having only a two-game series against the Rays (how the fuck did THAT happen, by the way?) on Tuesday and Wednesday. So for Sale to pitch on Sunday, they would have to skip Doug Fister’s rotation spot. I think it’s a no-brainer that the Red Sox are not going to skip over a chance to have Chris Sale pitch against the Yankees on normal rest, so I think it’s clearly going to be Sale on Sunday, but my brother thinks that they won’t mess with their rotation just to let Sale pitch against the Yankees, especially since Fister has pitched pretty well since he’s gone into the rotation (and it would therefore be over a week off between starts for him if he doesn’t pitch until next Monday). So he thinks that they will let Fister pitch. What do you guys think?

Didn’t the Sox confirm they were lining up their rotation specifically so Sale would pitch in each series remaining against the Yankees?

You’re right, they did say that they would not give him the extra rest this week so that he could pitch. So there ya go, the question is answered. Don’t get me wrong, I was always pretty confident that there was no way that they wouldn’t pitch him against the Yankees, but that’s confirmation.

When they were hitting well, it almost didn’t matter who pitched against them.
When they were hitting badly, it almost didn’t matter who pitched against them.
I’m not worried about Sale.

[2] Where have I heard that Sanchez needs to tighten up his defense? I wonder…

I’d like to know how many times the ball pops out of Sanchez’ glove, passed ball or not. He reminds me of Posada with that. But then all the trips to the mound, and apparent cross-ups. Pitchers can’t enjoy throwing to him.—Armchair doctor alert—but I wonder if he has some form of ADD or something, like maybe it’s not some personality flaw.

[9] He was pretty candid a couple years ago about having a bad attitude before his child was born, that he didn’t take responsibility for his behavior or development, just expected to slide by and have everything come easy to him (laughable considering how difficult MLB is).  He claimed that he changed completely after having a baby, that he accepted that he needs to listen and focus and trust his coaches.  The Yankee MiL development people and ML coaches agreed that he seemed to have a better work ethic, and his success led to his ML spot last season. 

If I had to guess, I’d say he slid back into old habits.  Getting here is one thing, staying is another.  Hopefully he will get his shit together because he has looked pretty sloppy all season, and his bat hasn’t been good enough to make up for his shitty defense.  Last year he proved he is capable of playing at a high level, so whatever problems he has can be fixed, its just a matter of putting in the work and leaving your ego in the dugout I suppose.

Is it too early to think about what other position, Gary might move to if he can’t maintain the concentration needed to be a catcher?  First base and DH are obvious—he has the bat.  He’s got a great arm, maybe third base is an option.

[11] It’s hard to imagine him playing any defensive position right now.  I could easily see him gaining 50 pounds and DHing, and probably being really good at it.  But that is just right now, he is really young and has plenty of time to turn this around.

He’s already been gaining weight, which was another of their concerns. They think it has affected his flexibility/agility.

How good a hitter would Gary be if he took the Carlos Delgado-Pablo Sandoval -Victor Martinez path to DH?  Being a bad catcher can’t be good for his hitting.

[14] Plenty of players hit better NOT DHing. I don’t think these things can be guessed in advance.

Also, the Pablo Sandoval path is not to DH, it’s to unemployment. Not sure why you threw him in there.

You got me on that one.

I was trying to come up with prospect catchers who had careers as hitters.  Sandoval popped into my head, because I saw him play for SF over the weekend.  I do agree that “had” is the operative word.

We did OK with Posada catching.  And Sanchez catching allows us to either rotate the other guys at DH or sign a real DH.

He claimed that he changed completely after having a baby, that he accepted that he needs to listen and focus and trust his coaches.

I don’t find it particularly reassuring that he’d need that kind of motivation in such a competitive, high-stakes career. The Yankees have a lot riding on him. This doesn’t make him a bad person, but it could be a significant challenge for the team.

I’ve always been a little skeptical on the Sanchez attitude but seemed he’d put that behind him.  At this point, though, I’m not sure public shaming is the way to deal with whatever issues he has.

He’s still young.

I don’t think it’s necessarily public shaming. I think it is a matter of them telling him to do X and he’s not doing X. His manager is a former All-Star catcher. Take his advice, numbnuts! And when he doesn’t do what they ask him, what do you do?

[18 & 19] I hear what you are saying but, honestly, we are talking about kids who are 18, 19, 20 when they are playing through minor league systems, being told what to do all day long, being away from their families, having lots of money or no money depending on how they were signed, dealing with language barriers, etc… I would expect some guys to struggle with that pressure, just because everyone is pretty immature at that age.  Players that make it are able to overcome those obstacles.  Some players just blow it, plain & simple.  For example, WTF happened to Jesus Montero? Here is a guy who could have been playing regularly, making money, living a dream, but he got in his own way.  These guys aren’t robots, sometimes players are going to flush away promising careers because of emotions, bad attitudes, perceptions, poor habits, drugs/alcohol, or any number of reasons that make older, experienced, mature folks like ourselves scratch their heads and wonder why somebody would blow the opportunity of a lifetime.

Like I have said repeatedly this season, I hope Sanchez gets his shit together.

[21] Maybe public shaming is the way to go.  Maybe those people around him know him better than we do.  Holding him accountable in private hasn’t worked, so maybe he needs the motivation of having this out in public.  IMHO, he has put in a shoddy effort all year behind the plate.  He looks really lazy back there.  If he isn’t embarrassed by his performance, he should be and maybe that is the point of calling him out.  We’ll find out soon enough I suppose.  Maybe we can get Cervello back…

The chances that Scooter is right are more than high enough, as are the rewards of him being successful at catcher - esp. as he’s shown that’ it’s not a guess, it’s in there - that it’s eminently worth waiting and working it out.

He’s at an age where a year or two can bring a radical change in maturity (hate the word, but clear what we mean in this context) level.

I dunno, how many here would be extra-motivated to improve by having literally tens of millions of people aware that your boss thinks you need to up your game?

It was plainly clear to everyone when he’s passing the ball seventeen times a day that he needed to up his game and yet he hasn’t upped his game, so what do you do?

[25] Yeah, I certainly, at 24, would’ve been extra “Fuck you, fuck you, and especially fuck you” about the whole thing.

FWIW, from RAB:

Here, for the sake of discussion, is where Sanchez ranks among the 87 catchers to play a big league game this season in the various catcher defense metrics at Baseball Prospectus:

•  Framing: +4.0 runs (13th)

•  Blocking: -1.3 runs (80th)

•  Throwing: +0.8 runs (10th)

•  Total Fielding: +3.5 runs (15th)


•  Pitchers with Sanchez: 3.48 ERA (3.43 FIP) with 25.8% strikeouts and 7.2% walks

•  Pitchers with Romine: 4.22 ERA (4.02 FIP) with 24.1% strikeouts and 8.7% walk

It’s not Girardi throwing Sanchez under the bus. He is sending a clear message. And this is more about attitude than performance. He is playing good baseball but his ceiling is much higher and his manager is trying to let him know that baseball is tougher than he thought and that he needs to be more humble about it

Sanchez could be a bad defender but what he really needs is his bat doing the work. If he hits close to .870 OPS he could catch like he has been catching and still be a 4-5 win player

I think there is also work to do at the plate with him. And clearly is also more mental than mechanical. He is guessing all the time. Last season he was guessing sometimes but this season has been too much. He is also trying to pull almost everything and because of that he is chasing too many pitches down and away.

[25] That’s how I improve my comments here!

[31]  Serious question.  Can they get any better?

[25] But baseball selects people who succeed in this type of environment. All through the minors you’re playing in front of bigger and bigger crowds, under more and more pressure, more and more publicly. You don’t GET to the show unless you can handle all that. Doesn’t mean your perfect and ready to go, but these players don’t represent the average person.

Random B-Reffing on an off-day… Scott Proctor threw 102 innings of relief in 2006. That’s… insane. The more I look back on it, the more it seems Torre was the Yankees manager about three or even four years too long.

I think he lasted JUST long enough to avoid the team from getting stuck with Willie Randolph.

35. Sweet Lou would have been entertaining. But its true, who else was there at the time? That’s a really good point and interesting question. Obviously not Buck Showalter. Bobby Valentine? ewww. Give me Torre any day. If we go post-‘04, its hard to see who would have been manager. The Rays may have let Pinella go to a way better job for light compensation, but otherwise it does just look like Willie. Mazz? That guy used to creep me out.

[28] Where do passed balls & errors factor into those numbers, total fielding? Strange that he is that high up when he is leading the league in PB & errors.  Sanchez has 10 errors, the rest of the AL is 6 or lower.  Last year, Matt Weiters led the AL with 11 errors for the entire season.

I think maddon or Francona for sure better than Torre. Certainly after 2003

[33] Not everyone fits into that schema.  Even though all those guys are used to playing in front of crowds, every so often you read about a guy who just can’t handle it.  For every Zach Grienke - a guy able to overcome mental/psychological obstacles and perform up to expectations, there are other guys who just can’t break through those barriers when they get to the show.  Some have just enough success to stick around for a while (think Ricky Ledee), others use drugs/alcohol to cope (Josh Hamilton should have been Mike Trout, maybe better), some guys just flame out.

Confirmed Yanks will see Sale 3 straight series.

I did not realize this but runners are 18/21 in SB attempts against Romine. But his bat makes up for a lot of flaws.

[41] Austin Romine is a backup catcher. Therefore, he: (1) is great defensively, (2) calls a great game, (3) really knows how to handle a pitching staff, and (4) does the little things offensively.

In reality, he’s got a 53 OPS+ and pitchers are performing better when Sanchez catches.

I really like Austin Romine. Overcame quite a lot to make it up to the big leagues. I think he’d be exposed as a full time catcher, but I like him as a back up. But the narrative always has a way of straying from the data.

Girardi rests his regulars too often to except such a poor hitting BUC unless he really is the GOODS defensively.

[42] Romine is somehow hitting .313 with RISP this season.  Maybe this is the reason for the mirage. 

I like that he hits the ball the other way, but he sure as hell hasn’t been hitting much of anything this year, apart from that nice little stretch when Sanchez was hurt.

Sterling & Cauldron believe that Romine & Torreyes are the key to all important Yankee victories.

[40] Sox are scared.  wink  But really, based on the head-to-head results, they probably should be.  This way they are much more likely to win series.  Of course, if the Yankees can somehow pull out the Sale game then each series looks much more winnable.

Unless Sale has the same issue with NYY as Price, then it isn’t so terrifying.

Garrett Cooper at 1B, Headley DH!

[46] Have you seen what Sale has done to the Yankees throughout his career?

[48] No, and I was too lazy to check. That’s why I put the question forward.

[47] uhh .... <head explodes>

Headley’s been hot and all, but he’s no one’s idea of a ‘DH’.  Bird can’t return fast enough for me.

50 Andujar

[51] Yeah, well, I wanted Andujar up a LONG time ago but no one in the front office seems to agree.  Hey, he has a great game, major part of the winning the game, let’s reward him by immediately demoting him!

Beyond the potential upside of his bat it’s way more fun to watch young guys.  I’ll take Clint Frazier through his slumps since it means he’s getting valuable experience.

So, who got Montgomery’s roster spot?

Edited to add: Ah, I see it was Mitchell. That makes sense, as it was super weird seeing Green and Warren having to pitch mop up innings.

So now they have Mitchell to soak up innings.

[48] Despite Sale’s ridiculous numbers against the Yankees (only 6 teams have a worse OPS+ than NY v. Sale), he has managed to lose a couple games on his own over the years, and we know that he had some hard luck against NY this year.

A couple things jump out when looking at his career numbers.  He currently owns the best strikeout to walk ratio in baseball history.  Not just current players, ALL players.  He may not keep it up, but its cool to see that little gold number on BBRef.

Sale gets worse at pitching as the season wears on.  He has been a very average to below average pitcher in August & September according to his career splits.  Fenway is not going to help him with that I imagine.  He is also in his prime right now, so past performance may not dictate future performance, yada yada yada.

Lastly, the teams in his division (AL Central), who have seen him the most every year, have not fared too poorly against him if you look at his career numbers.  He has not dominated them the way he has the rest of baseball.  Maybe this bodes well for the Yankees from this point forward (in case you are wondering, there is pig wearing lipstick under my desk right now too).

[54] Outside shot for 300 K’s this season.

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