SimSeason: The 2015 Yankees, May and June

Welcome back to our just-for-fun projection of the 2015 season, as run through the newest edition of Out of the Park Baseball, licensed by MLB.com. If you missed the ground rules of our little exercise and the April 2015 recap, please click here and follow along. If you want to get in the driver’s seat for your own GM/managing experience, OOTP 16 is available now for PC and Mac.

On we go into May…

Nathan Eovaldi got off to an awful start in pinstripes. He fell to 0-5 on May 2, battered by the Red Sox for six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Run support has been part of the problem, I suppose, but Eovaldi is also sporting a 9.13 ERA. … Adam Warren was pounded for seven runs by the Blue Jays in a 15-1 rout May 4 … Michael Pineda continues to be excellent. He shuts the Jays out at Rogers Centre on May 5, 4-0, to log his fourth win. … Toronto’s Mark Buehrle beats the Yankees on May 7, 9-3, and celebrates his 200th victory … Jacoby Ellsbury (hamstring) returns to the lineup May 9 as Masahiro Tanaka pitches a three-hitter over Baltimore … Stephen Drew, batting .140, strains an oblique May 10. He’s out for five weeks, so this is a big opportunity for Jose Pirela. Meanwhile, Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova have begun their rehab assignments.

In our season sim, Alex Rodriguez hit his 660th career home run on May  12 at Tropicana Field, off the Rays' Matt Andriese.

In our season sim, Alex Rodriguez hit his 660th career home run on May 12 at Tropicana Field, off the Rays’ Matt Andriese.

Alex Rodriguez ties Willie Mays and logs that $6 million bonus when he hits his 660th career home run on May 12 at Tropicana Field, off Matt Andriese in a 3-0 Yankees win. Eovaldi logs his first Yankee victory that night. … Chase Headley homers twice in a 6-3 win over the Royals May 15, giving him five for the season … The Yankees make some roster moves on the May 18 off-day. Chasen Shreve (7.98 ERA) is optioned to Triple-A, Warren (1-4, 7.83) goes to the bullpen and Capuano is activated to join the rotation after three rehab starts. …

Tough one to swallow May 19 in Washington. Tanaka pitches six strong innings but David Carpenter serves up a three-run homer to Wilson Ramos in the eighth. Yankees lose, 5-4. … Death by bullpen again on May 20. This time, it’s Bryce Harper with a homer off Esmil Rogers in the eighth, spoiling Capuano’s debut. Nats win, 4-2. … The Yanks are happy to escape Washington, and Pineda keeps dealing May 22 vs. Texas. Backed by Headley’s four RBIs, Pineda does it all over nine innings, allowing an unearned run and three hits to improve to 6-2. …

Late magic in the Bronx on May 25. After Betances blows his first save in the ninth, Carlos Beltran hits a two-run, walk-off homer off Greg Holland in the 13th inning, beating the Royals 5-3 and ending an afternoon affair that spoiled our dinner reservations. … Didi Gregorius’ 12th inning RBI double off Evan Scribner leads the Yanks past the A’s, 3-2, on May 28 in Oakland. … More tough luck for Eovaldi on May 29. Another quality start of three earned runs and six innings, lowering his ERA to 5.96, but he falls to 1-9 when the Yanks are handcuffed by the A’s Jesse Hahn and Sean Doolittle. … The Yanks wrap May on a strong note, as Pineda picks up his seventh win with seven innings of one-run ball to beat the A’s. Carpenter and Miller hand the ball to Betances, who locks down a 4-1 win. Garrett Jones homers in the win.

Checking in… June 1, 2015

A hot cup of SeattleHello from Pike Place Market in Seattle, where I’m enjoying a fresh cup of joe and some salmon chowder in a bread bowl on an overcast afternoon. There have been a lot of ups and downs to this season so far. The Yankees are 23-28 (.451) and in fourth place, trailing Boston (27-24), Baltimore (24-24) and Tampa Bay (24-27). Michael Pineda is 7-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 11 starts, leading the team with 54 strikeouts. Masahiro Tanaka is 5-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 11 starts. Dellin Betances has converted 11 of 12 saves and sports a 1.35 ERA.

The Yanks just aren’t scoring runs; they’ve scored 175, last in the AL, and they are dead last in average (.219) and on-base percentage (.297). The starters (4.03 ERA) and relievers (3.38 ERA) have done the job, and they’re playing good defense. Brett Gardner’s .295 average leads the club, A-Rod paces the way with eight homers and Carlos Beltran has 23 RBIs. They definitely need more production from Jacoby Ellsbury (.197, 1 HR, 10 RBIs), Mark Teixeira (.189, 5 HR, 18 RBIs).

Still with us? Let’s open the books on June.

The Yanks open June by promoting Ivan Nova to the Majors. He’s ready after five rehab starts. Chris Capuano pitched well in his two big league starts, but he’s heading back to the bullpen. Chase Whitley (2.30 ERA) is optioned to Triple-A. … Mark Teixeira (.193, 5 HR, 18 RBI) fractures the hamate bone in his wrist when he’s hit by a pitch in an 8-2 loss to the Mariners on June 1. He’s out for two months, giving Garrett Jones an opportunity to play every day. The Yanks will use A-Rod as the backup first baseman, while recalling Rob Refsnyder to help out at other positions. Refsnyder was hitting .327 in 156 at-bats at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. …

Though Masahiro Tanaka still gets most of the headlines, Michael Pineda has been the Yankees' best starter in our simulation of the 2015 season.

Though Masahiro Tanaka may get most of the headlines, Michael Pineda has been the Yankees’ best starter in our simulation of the 2015 season.

On June 4, Tony Pena sends me a message, noting that there seems to be a leadership void in the clubhouse and no one is stepping up to fill a ‘Team Captain’ role. Come back, Derek Jeter! … The bullpen flops behind Tanaka in a 7-3 loss to the Angels on June 5. Mark Krauss lines a RBI single off Carpenter in the eighth and Albert Pujols homers off Betances in the ninth. … The Yankees’ first-round Draft pick is high school centerfielder Demi Orimoloye … Tanaka is getting plenty of love in the All-Star balloting, but Pineda has been the Yanks’ best starter. He beats the Angels, 8-3, on June 6 to improve to 8-2 with a 1.70 ERA. …

The Yanks needed a laugher on June 7. Ellsbury and Beltran each homer and drive in four runs in an 11-1 rout of Andrew Heaney and the Angels. … Eovaldi out-pitches the Nats’ Jordan Zimmermann in a 3-1 win on June 9, supported by homers from Gardner (3) and McCann (7). Eovaldi improves to 3-9 with a 5.21 ERA. Betances gets his 13th save. … Drew returns from the DL on June 10. Sorry, Rob Refsnyder (11-for-38, .289). … Jacoby Ellsbury’s walk-off double off Matt Thornton drives home Gregorius with the winning run June 10 as the Yanks beat the Nats, 3-2, in 10 innings. …

Nathan Eovaldi started off slow in our sim of the 2015 season, but is showing signs of turning it around as the weather warms up.

Nathan Eovaldi started off slow in our sim of the 2015 season, but pitched a nine-hit shutout to beat his former club, the Marlins, on June 15 in Miami.

Drew drives in three runs and John Ryan Murphy homers to back seven innings of Tanaka (6-3, 3.26 ERA) in a 7-1 win at Camden Yards on June 12. Tanaka could’ve gone deeper but was knocked out by a 69-minute rain delay in the eighth (rain in Baltimore? That never happens). It’s the Yanks’ fifth straight win. … Gardner drives in four runs and Beltran homers (8) to back Sabathia (5-6, 4.36) in a 7-4 win at Baltimore June 14 … Trade revenge! Eovaldi (4-9, 4.60) returns to Miami with a flourish on June 15, throwing a nine-hit shutout in a 8-0 win. He walked none and struck out six. Garrett Jones goes 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs …

The Yanks split that weird home-and-home with Miami. Pineda improves to 9-3 with a 1.90 ERA in the finale. … Old friend Phil Hughes no-hits the Cubs on June 19 at Target Field … Bad news from trainer Steve Donohue on June 19. Jacoby Ellsbury sustained a herniated disc trying to flag a sixth-inning fly ball in a 9-3 loss to the Tigers and will miss two to three months. He’s hitting .229 (44-for-192) with three homers and 18 RBIs in 50 games. Slade Heathcott is called up … Garrett Jones is named the AL Player of the Week on June 22. He hit .440 (11-for-25) with two homers, four RBIs and three runs scored. …

The Yanks are looking to the farm for help in our 2015 season sim. Slade Heathcott hit his first big league homer on June 23 off the Phillies' Chad Billingsley.

The Yanks are looking to the farm for help in our 2015 season sim. Slade Heathcott hit his first big league homer on June 23 off the Phillies’ Chad Billingsley.

Didi Gregorius lines a walk-off single facing the Phillies’ Seth Rosin on June 22 as the Yanks win, 3-2, in 10 innings. It’s Sir Didi’s third hit of the game, but he’s only batting .209 … Heathcott hits his first big league homer off Chad Billingsley in a June 23 loss to the Phillies … Garrett Jones has three hits, including his sixth homer, in an 6-5 win on June 25 at Houston. … Headley hits a game-tying homer in the ninth and Gardner goes deep in the 10th as the Yanks win, 4-2, on June 26 at Houston … More extra-inning fun deep in the heart of Texas June 27. This time, it’s Stephen Drew with the go-ahead 12th inning single off Luke Gregerson as the Yanks beat the Astros, 3-2.

Checking in… July 1, 2015

Greetings from AnaheimGreetings from sunny Anaheim. The clubhouse isn’t a whole lot of fun these days. The Yankees are 36-42 (.462) and in fourth place, 7 1/2 games back, trailing Boston (44-35), Tampa Bay (42-37) and Toronto (38-41). We’ve been saying it all year, but the offense is a problem. The Yanks’ 270 runs scored, .221 average and .297 on-base percentage are dead last in the AL. Mark Teixeira is out another 5-6 weeks with the wrist injury and Jacoby Ellsbury is out for at least eight more weeks. Brett Gardner leads the team with a .271 average and 34 RBIs, while Chase Headley and Brian McCann are tied for the team lead with nine homers.

The pitching has kept them in it. Michael Pineda is 9-5 with a 2.26 ERA, Masahiro Tanaka is 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA, and while CC Sabathia hasn’t been great (5-9, 4.33 ERA), he has been healthy and reliable. CC has 75 strikeouts, one behind Pineda for the team lead. Dellin Betances has been great in the closer’s role, posting a 2.08 ERA and 17 saves in 18 chances. The Yanks’ starters own a 3.99 ERA, 6th in the AL, and their bullpen ERA of 3.52 is fourth in the AL.

Think the Yankees can turn it around? Tomorrow, we’ll delve into the dog days of summer as we walk you through July and August.

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