Cafardo's latest: Halladay, Millwood, Lowe, Tejada

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is back with his latest batch of Hot Stove morsels. While his Sunday column is always worth a complete read, here’s just a few items of interest.



– General manager Theo Epstein would
prefer not to give up Clay Buchholz and Casey Kelly for Roy Halladay.
The Red Sox feel his current price tag is too high considering he is 33
years old, will require a long-term contract and has thrown over 1800
innings this decade. According to Cafardo, their ideal situation would
be to sign John Lackey and deal Buchholz for a young hitter.




– The pitching-hungry Brewers have
talked to the Rangers about acquiring Kevin Millwood, but so far Texas
isn’t biting. Millwood has one year and $12 million remaining on his
contract, so moving his salary would create some room should they
decide to pursue Texas-native John Lackey.




– Despite being linked in trade rumors, Derek Lowe hasn’t heard from the front office regarding a potential destination.



– Cafardo finds the Cardinals a
“good bet” to sign Miguel Tejada, though he also thinks they could be
interested in Mike Lowell if Boston eats part of the contract. The
Giants, Rangers, Orioles (really?) and Mariners are also believed to
have interest in Tejada, according to Cafardo.

3:30 pm ET – Update: In regards to a possible Millwood-to-the-Brewers trade, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said he hasn’t spoken with Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin in weeks. It doesn’t exactly refute Cafardo’s report, nor does it dismiss the chance of future negotiations.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.