Yankees to skip Javier Vazquez's next start


With the right-hander getting lit up because of a dead arm that has him looking more like a Triple-A journeyman than one of the game’s top strikeout pitchers, the Yankees are finally ready to do something about Javier Vazquez. He’ll have his turn skipped this week, and he’ll be available to work out of the pen beginning Wednesday.
Vazquez last pitched Saturday, when he gave up four runs over three innings in a no-decision against the Mariners. It was the third straight outing in which he failed to last five innings. He’s 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA and seven homers in 16 2/3 innings over four starts in August.
The Yankees will give 23-year-old Ivan Nova a chance to pitch in Vazquez’s place when he faces the White Sox on Sunday. Picked over Dustin Moseley then, Nova allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Jays on Monday. It was his first big-league start after two relief appearances back in May in which he combined to pitch three scoreless innings.
We’re still probably a couple of weeks away from figuring out whether Vazquez can be written off for the rest of the season. The arm fatigue clearly wasn’t going away while he was starting every five days. Maybe some time off will help. But unless he regains a few mph on his fastball, he’s not going to be a part of the Yankees’ postseason roster.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.