Having already placed CC Sabathia on the DL Wednesday, the Yankees suffered an even bigger blow this afternoon: Andy Pettitte will miss at least six weeks due to a fractured left ankle suffered when he was hit by a comebacker in the 5-4 win over the Indians.
Pettitte was removed from Wednesday’s game in the fifth inning after taking a Casey Kotchman liner off his leg. He made several warm-up throws afterwards and even threw a pitch to Lou Marson, but he limped around immediately afterwards and was replaced by Cody Eppley.
Kotchman’s shot went as a single to lead off the fifth. Marson followed that with another single and came around to score off the Yankees’ second reliever of the inning, resulting in the lone earned run charged to Pettitte.
Pettitte also allowed an unearned run following an Alex Rodriguez error in the third inning.
Pettitte had seven strikeouts in four-plus innings before departing today. Maybe the Yankees’ best starter in the month and a half since he returned to the majors, he’ll head to the DL sporting a 3.22 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in nine starts.
The Yankees already intended to have Freddy Garcia replace Sabathia in the rotation through the All-Star break. Now they might need Adam Warren to step in as well. Warren is 5-5 with a 3.86 ERA in Triple-A, but he’s gotten stronger as the year has gone on; in June, he has a 2.03 ERA in five starts.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.
Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal reports that the value of a qualifying offer for free agents this off-season has been set at $15.8 million. That represents an increase of a half-million dollars over last year’s value.
This is of particular interest with regards to the big-name free agents, including Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yovani Gallardo, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeff Samardzija.
Teams that make a qualifying offer to a player that ends up being rejected receive a compensation draft pick in the upcoming draft. The team that signs the player who rejected a qualifying offer gives up their earliest non-protected draft pick.
Free agents who had been traded mid-season aren’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer. This includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist, among others.
A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the QO system was implemented.