Tagged in: Yankees

Yankees hire Matt Blake as pitching coach

The New York Yankees didn’t waste any time finding their new pitching coach, as they have hired Matt Blake to fill the role Larry Rothschild left behind. Blake was formerly the pitching coach of the Cleveland Indians and is known for developing big-league pitchers.

Blake’s ability to refine pitchers and his familiarity with the Yankees system, having worked as an area scout for them in the past, makes him a terrific candidate for the Bombers moving forward. He takes a more analytical approach to the game, while Rothschild depends on his gut and old-school mentality.

This is a step forward for a Yankees team that did have a great bullpen last year but saw their starters struggle at times. Blake should increase the efficiency of both units if he can manage to make the most of the pitching presently on the roster.

Blake comes over from the Cleveland Indians, where he previously served as the team’s pitching coordinator. The Yankees parted ways with longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild earlier this offseason. New York also interviewed David Cone for the position.

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Of the four known candidates for the job, three (with former Yankees star David Cone as the outlier) were younger names in their 30’s without much any direct coaching experience on an MLB staff. 

University of Michigan pitching coach Chris Fetter and Arkansas pitching coach Matt Hobbs were the two other names linked to the Yankees’ search.

It will be up to Blake to modernize the Yankees’ handling of their arms, and it perhaps isn’t surprising that New York hired someone from a Cleveland organization that has excelled at developing homegrown pitching in recent years. 

Indians manager Terry Francona just praised Blake’s work in preparing young hurlers such as Jefry Rodriguez, Zach Plesac, and Aaron Civale, with the latter two making their Major League debuts in 2019.

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Aaron Hicks returns to Yankees’ lineup

Giancarlo Stanton was on the field for batting practice previous to Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Astros in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, but the Yankees slugger is unclear when his right quadriceps strain will permit him to play the outfield or run the bases. In the meantime, Aaron Hicks got the start in center field, playing there for the first time since Aug. 3.

“It’s pretty similar to 48 hours ago. Just going to see what we can do,” Stanton said. “It’s not the best, but I’m able to hit. We’re at least that far right now. I don’t have much time. Time is not on my side right now. I’m doing what I can.” Stanton sustained the injury legging out a second-inning infield single in ALCS Game 1 at Houston’s Minute Maid Park on Saturday night. He played six more innings before being removed for defense, slugging a sixth-inning home run, but he did not appear in the Yanks’ 3-2, 11-inning loss to the Astros in Game 2 on Sunday night.

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that if this were the regular season, Stanton’s injury is significant enough that it would require a stint on the injured list.

New York is reluctant to substitute Stanton on the ALCS roster, because doing so would render him ineligible to play in the World Series.

“We’re trying to strike that balance,” Boone said. “I feel like we’re in a good spot, lineup-wise. Obviously, it gets tougher the further you go, especially when you only have a three-man bench anyway. So those are all things that we have to consider.” If the Yankees were to make an injury substitution, their candidates include infielder/outfielder Tyler Wade — who was on the ALDS roster, but later subbed out in favor of Hicks — or a pair of first basemen in the right-handed-hitting Luke Voit and left-handed-hitting rookie Mike Ford.

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Yankees, Astros plan to make a bullpen game

The Yankees plan to use their bullpen against Houston from the start in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series.

With the best-of-seven series tied 1-1, Luis Severino starts Game 3 on Tuesday versus Gerrit Cole. Masahiro Tanaka started the opener and James Paxton was on the mound for Game 2. Manager Aaron Boone plans to use pitchers who have been in the bullpen in the postseason during the fourth game on Wednesday night.

“J.A. Happ could very much be in the mix, as well as I picture our bullpen being unleashed on that day,” Boone said Monday as the series shifted to New York.

A starter during the regular season, Happ has relieved during the playoffs.

The 36-year-old left-hander entered in the 10th inning of Game 2, escaped a two-outs jam, then permitted Carlos Correa’s home run leading off the 11th that gave the Astros a 3-2 win.

Weather could cause New York to alter its plans. Heavy rain is forecast for Wednesday, and if Game 4 is rescheduled, the Yankees would be able to bring back Tanaka, the Game 1 winner, on normal rest. Boone removed Paxton after 2 1/3 innings and 51 pitches, and the bullpen allowed two runs and three hits in 7 2/3 innings. George Springer hit a tying home run in the fifth on Adam Ottavino’s first pitch.

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“I don’t think he’s as far off maybe as is being talked, but he’s certainly not as sharp as he’s been most of the year,” Boone said. “I feel like he’s close to being that, and I think some small successes hopefully will spur him on because he needs to play a big role for us.”

Boone says a choice won’t be made until Wednesday on outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who strained his right quadriceps in the opener and missed Game 2.

Limited by injuries to 18 games during the regular season, Stanton homered in the opener. If he were dropped from the roster against the Astros, he would be ineligible to return this year.

“It is a sensitive decision, a tough decision,” Boone said. “We’ll just try and evaluate and try and get as honest as feedback as we can from Giancarlo.”

Aaron Hicks could get his first start since Aug. 3, taking over in center field from Brett Gardner, who would substitute Stanton in left. Sidelined by an injured flexor near his right elbow, Hicks pinch-hit for starting left fielder Cameron Maybin and grounded out leading off the 10th inning in Game 2, then moved to center.

“Aaron is very much in play,” Boone said, “Thought he had a good at-bat, looked like Aaron Hicks. So he’ll very much be part of the conversation moving forward.”

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Yankees vs Rockies

Yankees vs Rockies

New York Yankees (31-33) at Colorado Rockies (31-33)
MLB Baseball: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 3:10 pm (Coors Field)
I Nova (5-3) (4.39) vs. C Bettis (4-5) (5.85)

The New York Yankees and Colorado Rockies enter this series in a very similar place. Both teams are under .500 and hoping to beat up on another team beneath .500 to try and maintain a dream of contention. Both teams are rumored to be sellers at the deadline currently, but a hot stretch of games catapulting them back into contention could change things.

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The Yankees have struggled to win on the road of late, losing six of eight away from the Bronx. But they’re 6-1 in their last seven games versus an opponent with a losing record, are 12-3 in their last 15 games versus a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30, and are 8-2 in their last 10 road games versus an opponent with a losing record.

After winning five in a row the Yankees have lost three straight following a 13-10 loss at Coors Field Tuesday. Yanks starter Nathan Eovaldi was charged with six runs on eight hits over four frames before three relievers allowed seven.  The Bronx Bombers amassed 16 hits and three BB with Didi Gregorius going 2-4 with two runs and three RBI’s while Jacoby Ellsbury and Starlin Castro knocked in two apiece. Ivan Nova is charged with controlling the Rockies offense in Wednesday night’s start. Nova comes off a 6-3 win versus the Angels where he allowed all three runs on six hits over 6.2 innings.  

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The Rockies are playing well, winning five of their last six games overall and four of their last five home games. They’re also 5-1 in their last six games versus a right-handed starter, are 4-1 in their last five games versus a team with a losing record, and are 4-1 in their last five home games versus an opponent with a losing road record.

The Colorado Rockies are trying to reach .500 and then see if they can make a run in the National League West. The surging Rockies have now won seven of nine behind some big offense although the pen almost gave it away. Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa tossed five scoreless innings before Gonzalez Germen, Justin Miller and Miguel Castro allowed all ten runs. The Rockies racked up 15 hits and walked five times with Ryan Raburn went solo while Carlos Gonzalez and  Trevor story each went long  and combined for seven RBI’s. Daniel Descalso and DL LeMahieu knocked in two apiece as every starter reached base. Chad Bettis gets Wednesday’s start against the Yankees who he will see for the first time in his career. Bettis did not get a decision in an 11-5 win versus Pittsburgh last time out with four earned runs scored on seven hits in three frames.

PITCHING MATCHUP:

Yankees RH Iván Nova (5-3, 4.39 ERA) vs. Rockies RH Chad Bettis (4-5, 5.85) Nova won his second straight start by holding the Los Angeles Angels to three runs over 6 1/3 innings in his last outing – the first time he has yielded fewer than four runs over his last four turns. Although Nova has been able to curb the number of walks allowed, he has surrendered at least one homer in each of his last seven starts and eight total in that span. Nova has been shaky away from home, logging a 2-2 record and 6.00 ERA in six appearances (three starts).Bettis is mired in an ugly four-start winless drought, although he escaped with a no-decision last time out despite allowing five runs (four earned) over three innings against Pittsburgh. Like Nova, Bettis is having trouble keeping the ball in the park as he’s yielded six homers and allowed 22 runs over 16 1/3 innings in his last four turns. Pitching at hitter-friendly Coors Field is another detriment for Bettis, who is allowing opposing hitters to bat .327 in five home starts.

 

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