Saturday, September 23, 2017

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 9/23

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will continue their three-game weekend set today with the middle game of the series inside the Rogers Centre, eh. In the middle contest the New York Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the mound to square off with Joe Biagini for the Blue Jays. No matter where the Blue Jays or the Yankees are in the standings these two teams always seem to bring their “A” games against one-another so expect a fun contest today between these two clubs. Enjoy the game.

Gray had probably his worst start as a Yankee last time out giving up five runs and six hits in just four innings of work against the Baltimore Orioles in a loss. Gray had been great for New York up until that last start posting a 2.66 ERA in eight starts for the Bombers so it’s probably best that he get that inevitable one bad start out of the way now rather than in October.

Biagini has been consistently inconsistent for the Blue Jays so who knows what the Blue Jays will get out of him this afternoon in Toronto. Biagini could not make it out of the second inning in his last start allowing six runs, although in the start prior Biagini tossed a career-high eight innings against the Orioles. Does that mean Biagini will be dominant once again today against the Yankees? I hope not.

The game will be played at 4:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Need a win, clinch a spot, and get a win. Go Yankees!!!

Thank You, We'll Just Take The Wild Card...

Credit:  Frank Gunn-The Canadian Press via AP

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 1...

The title is sarcastic (if you didn't notice). I am very disappointed with Masahiro Tanaka and the blow out loss to the AL East Cellar Dwellers. Trailing the Red Sox by four games with only nine games to play makes it a near impossibility to catch Boston unless they go into a tailspin like the Los Angeles Dodgers recently did. I seriously doubt that will happen for the Red Sox as they keep winning.

The Yankees had been playing so well, winning 15 of 20 games since August 31st. For a year that the Yankees have exceeded all expectations, Tanaka's overall performance is the reason the Yankees are talking Wild Card and not AL East title. If he had pitched like his previous three years, we'd be talking about how many games the Red Sox are behind. It bothers me that we can hold a 5 1/2 game lead over the Minnesota Twins, we can sweep the most recent series with the Twins, and yet, the Twins have a chance for one game to send the Yankees packing for the winter. If the Yankees play like they did yesterday, there will be no expanded playoffs for the Pinstripes.  

Aaron Judge is the only player that came ready to play. His solo home run in the first inning, a monster 469 foot blast to left center off the facing of the second deck, gave the Yankees an early lead but it was the last run the Yankees would score. It was Judge's 46th home run of the season, matching Joe DiMaggio's career high. 

Credit:  Frank Gunn-The Canadian Press via AP

The Blue Jays quickly tied the game in the bottom of the 1st against Tanaka.  Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single to left center. Josh Donaldson hit into a fielder's choice at third but Todd Frazier's throw to Starlin Castro, which should have been an easy force out at second, got past Castro for an error as Hernandez raced around to third. Runners at the corners. Jose Bautista hit a soft grounder to third and was thrown out at first but Hernandez scored. Game tied, 1-1.

In the top of the 3rd, Todd Frazier doubled to right on a ball that went to the wall, sliding into second just under the throw from Jose Bautista. Clint Frazier popped out to the shortstop for the first out.  Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to right on a great running catch by Bautista, who then threw the ball in to second baseman Ryan Goins.  With the Toddfather standing on second, Goins used the old hidden ball trick with a fake throw.  Frazier momentarily lifted his foot off second to turn around and Goins nabbed him for the out to complete the double play. It was that type of game...

Credit:  Frank Gunn-The Canadian Press via AP

In the bottom of the 3rd, Teoscar Hernandez got to Tanaka again, this time a solo shot to left to give the Blue Jays the 2-1 lead. Bottom of the 4th, it was Russell Martin's turn. His two-run shot, a liner just over the left field wall off Tanaka after Joey Bats had walked to start the inning, put the Blue Jays, 4-1.  

The Yankees' third and final hit came in the top of the 6th when Aaron Judge led off with a double to deep left center that hit the warning track and bounced off the wall.  But the silent Yankee bats left him stranded behind the pitching of Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada, the recipient of a $13 million contract extension a few days earlier.

In the bottom of the 6th, the Blue Jays put the game away against Tanaka.  Jose Bautista walked to start the inning.  Kevin Pillar singled to center as Joey Bats moved to second.  Tanaka struck out Russell Martin and Miguel Montero so it looked like he might be able to get out of the inning, but then he walked Kendrys Morales, pinch-hitting for Darwin Barney, on four consecutive balls out of the strike zone to load the bases.  Tanaka had two strikes on the 'Hidden Ball' Master, Ryan Goins, but the third pitch, a slider, left the park in right for a grand slam. 8-1 Blue Jays, and, finally, the end of the night for Tanaka.  

Credit:  Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The only remaining runner that the Yankees could muster was when Aaron Judge walked in the 8th. The Blue Jays easily coasted to victory and most likely handed the Boston Red Sox the AL East Championship.

I apologize to those of you who are Tanaka fans but he sucked. His win-loss record now stands at 12-12 and his season ERA has increased to 4.94.  He gave up eight runs (seven earned) and three home runs in 5 2/3 innings.  He disappeared at a time when the Yankees needed him the most.  Dude, please opt out at the end of the year if this is truly the pitcher you are now.

Credit:  Tom Szczerbowski-Getty Images

The Yankees (85-68), as mentioned, fell four games behind the Red Sox.  Boston beat Sal Romano, who grew up as a Yankees fan, and the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4.  The Minnesota Twins have won two straight since they were swept by the Yankees so they have reduced their Wild Card deficit from 7 games to 5 1/2 in two days.  The Los Angeles Angels are in a downward spiral, losers of five in a row, so they trail the Twins by 3 1/2 games, along with the Texas Rangers.  

I don't mind when the Yankees battle hard and lose, but Friday night was not one of those games.  Outside of Aaron Judge, it was a complete team letdown. If I didn't know better, it looked like the Toronto Blue Jays were the playoff team, not the Yankees.  We expect and demand better play today.

Odds & Ends...

Today's pitching matchup will feature Sonny Gray (9-11) versus Joe Biagini (3-11). A change was announced for Sunday. Jaime Garcia (5-9) now gets the start. He'll oppose New York native Marcus Stroman (12-8).  

Todd Frazier was able to talk to the father of the little girl struck by the foul ball during Wednesday's game. The little girl is still in the hospital and as one relative indicated, it will be a long process. Frazier was told by the girl's father that "she's doing okay". Our thoughts and prayers remain with the little girl as she continues to recover.  

After last night's game, an unauthorized man apparently gained access to the Yankees clubhouse in an attempt to steal some towels and a batting helmet. He was chased away by Todd Frazier, Tyler Wade, and others. The man was subsequently detained by stadium security but it's scary that someone could have penetrated the crowded clubhouse that easily.  

Have a great Saturday!  Hopefully this a much better baseball day for all of us.  Go Yankees!

The Idea of Extended Netting at Yankee Stadium

In case you missed it there was an unfortunate accident that happened at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday afternoon where a young girl, just two-years old, was struck in the face with a 106 MPH foul ball. Since the incident which resulted in the girl being rushed to the hospital the father of the child has stated that his daughter is doing better, thank the lord, but that hasn’t stopped fans from revolting and asking the question of why the Yankees have not put up protective netting at Yankee Stadium like some teams have around the league. Just in case you missed it, again, if you watched the game you would know that the netting that those teams are putting up would not have protected this little girl in this incident unfortunately but let’s pretend that it would have. Are you in favor of putting up nets before the league eventually makes it mandatory or are you on the side of the argument that is against it. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions down in the comments section or on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) but until then I will leave my comments here for you this morning on the blog. Enjoy.

My thoughts are this, I think it is unnecessary to put the nets up but I think eventually the nets are going to be mandatory. Why not just get ahead of the game, get a little bit of PR and put the nets up as soon as possible. Fans were unprotected by these nets for hundreds of years now and it was never a huge issue until recently and if the nets remained down I truly think it wouldn’t be a huge issue in terms of injuries and fatalities but I do get the concept behind it. If the nets can save one little child or one person from getting hurt or killed the nets become instantly “worth it” to me. I get that. I also disagree with the people who are essentially saying that fans with children shouldn’t see in these “hot zones.” That’s crap. I should be able to sit where I want with my children, period, and you aren’t going to tell me otherwise. At the same time though I would personally take full responsibility for my child sitting in those seats that I as a parent chose to sit in. I wouldn’t hold the Yankees, the opposing team or the player responsible. Maybe that’s just me though.

The nets are coming. Whether the nets stretch down to the dugout or all the way down to the foul pole, they are coming. I hate that they are coming because it takes the fans away from the game and it just isn’t baseball to have these huge nets blocking you from catching a foul ball or something like that. I understand the need and the cries for them though so just get it over with and put the damn nets up. Don’t wait for the league to make you put the nets up, be the bigger person and the concerned person and just put them up already.

The fans will have to get over it because I am sure those same fans who are worried about their field of vision and such would appreciate it if it were them or their children who got saved from a 106 MPH foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier. It only takes saving one fan from injury or death to much outweigh the field of view concerns, in my opinion anyway, so just get it done already. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/23: RIP Yogi Berra

On this day in 2015 the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball lost a great man and a member of the family. Yogi Berra passed away on this day, he was 90-years old.

The year 2008 was a year of change for the New York Yankees. Joe Torre was no longer the manager after spending the last 12 seasons as the skipper and was replaced by Joe Girardi. This was the final season at the old Yankee Stadium as a new stadium was being built across the street. This also marked the first year in 13 seasons that the Yankees would not make the playoffs. The Red Sox beat the Indians 5-4 at Fenway Park clinching at least a Wild Card berth and officially eliminated the Yankees.

Also on this day in 2007 Mike Mussina became the 45th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win 250 games in his career. On this day the Yankees would beat the Blue Jays 7-5 and in the game Joba Chamberlain picked up his first career save. Mussina insisted that the game ball go to Joba rather than himself.

Also on this day in 2001 Mariano Rivera set a single season record for the Yankees when he recorded his 47thsave of the season. Dave Righetti held the old record at 46 when he set the record in 1986.

Also on this day in 1999 the Yankees set the New York City record for attendance in a single season when their crowd of 27,549 fans set the season total at 3,072,009. The New York Mets held the previous record for New York with 3,047,724 fans attended a game in one season.

Finally on this day in 1998 the greatest team of all time the 1998 Yankees tied the 1927 Yankees team for the most wins in franchise history with 110 wins. This win put the Yankees just one win behind the American League record of 111 wins by the 1954 Cleveland Indians.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 9/22

Friday night baseball in Canada, eh, tonight between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. This series will be a series of two entirely different stories as the Yankees try to clinch a playoff spot this weekend while the Blue Jays look to simply play spoiler. Masahiro Tanaka will head to the mound for the Yankees looking to push that magic number down some more for New York while the Blue Jays will counter with Marco Estrada. The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre and can be seen on WPIX channel 11 and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, get a win all while crushing another team’s hopes and dreams along the way. Sounds like a great Friday night to me. Go Yankees!

Prediction: Yankees win 4-2

Why is getting under the Luxury Tax threshold an issue?

While I was once big into the team's payroll I shied away from it the past couple of years. I just couldn't spend any more time thinking about money after years in which the team didn't seem to care about it at all. At least while the team still had large contracts such as those for Alex Rodriguez around.

Sorry, Alex. No more Yankee money for you.

Once the contracts for ARod and CC Sabathia finish up, to go along with the emergence of guys like Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Luis Severino, it seemed inevitable that the Yankees were going to get under the Luxury Tax threshold for 2018. With that, their luxury tax percentage would reset, allowing them to sign future free agents such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, or Clayton Kershaw without having to worry about the tax hit they would take.

Earlier this season I was thinking about all of this and took a quick look to see if it would really happen. Hell, the Yankees have been talking about getting under the Luxury Tax threshold for years with no success. Would that change this time? Especially seeing as how the team is not at all in "rebuilding mode"?

Let's start by looking at the projected active roster, along with the player's salaries, for 2018......
Note: I'm not good with projecting arbitration salaries, but I feel my numbers are not that far off.

C- Gary Sanchez ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
1B- Greg Bird ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
2B- Starlin Castro $10.857m
SS- Didi Gregorius ~$8m (made $5.1m in his second year of arbitration this season)
3B- Chase Headley $13m
LF- Brett Gardner $11.5m
CF- Jacoby Ellsbury $21.143m
RF- Aaron Judge ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
DH- Clint Frazier ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)

BE- Aaron Hicks ~$3m (made $1.35m in his first year of arbitration this season)
BE- Austin Romine ~$1.5m (made $.805m in his first year of arbitration this season)
BE- Ronald Torreyes ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
BE- Garrett Cooper ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)

SP1- Luis Severino ~$.7 (pre-arbitration)
SP2- Sonny Gray ~$6m (made $3.575m in his first year of arbitration this season)
SP3- Jordan Montgomery ~$.7 (pre-arbitration)

CL- Aroldis Chapman $17.2m
RP- Dellin Betances ~$5m (made $3m in his first year of arbitration this season)
RP- David Robertson $13m
RP- Tommy Kahnle ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
RP- Chad Green ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
RP- Adam Warren ~$3.5m (made $2.29m in his second year of arbitration this season)
RP- Bryan Mitchell ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)

Before adding those numbers up there are a couple of more things to add. One is that the Yankees will still owe the Houston Astros $5.5 million as part of the trade that sent Brian McCann their way. The second thing is that the team payroll for luxury tax purposes is based on the 40-man roster, therefore you need to add about $9 million (assuming the final 15 spots are filled by players making the league minimum).

Therefore, at this point, the Yankees are on the hook for around $137.9 million next season. I should note that any team will want to have some money set aside for mid-season pickups, which most often occur via trades (see the trade for Sonny Gray as an example).

Now for some questions about this projected roster...

1. How will the Yankees fill the last two starting spots? 

I believe one of them will be filled from within. One man that I can see getting the call is Chance Adams, who has started 21 games in AAA and ERA of 2.89. Or we could see Caleb Smith or Domingo German. Maybe even Domingo Acevedo. As for the other spot... more on that later.

2. Can Greg Bird stay healthy? 

I'm not ready to give up on Bird being able to stay healthy, but after missing all of 2016 and a large chunk of this season, I wouldn't feel totally comfortable relying on him to take over first base regularly next season. However, I can see him platooning with Garrett Cooper, which should help Greg stay healthy.

And don't forget that should Bird get injured, and Cooper can not be relied upon to play regularly, the Yankees could move Chase Headley to first base and call up Miguel Andujar to take over third. Not to mention that Ronald Torreyes did a good job filling in for Starlin Castro while he was on the DL this season.

3. Will the Yankees trade away Brett Gardner and/or Jacoby Ellsbury?

This seems like a certainty... at least for one of those two. Clint Frazier is more than ready to play regularly, and to get that done I believe at least one of those two players needs to go. While I lean towards Gardner getting dealt, I can't say for sure as dealing away Ellsbury should be something the team really wants to get done, and doing that after his solid season in 2017 would probably be the best bet.

A trade of Gardy or Ells would also open up more playing time for Aaron Hicks, who I believe deserves more than being a 4th outfielder.

4. Will Masahiro Tanaka opt-out?

Remember how I left the first question? Yeah, this is where the rest of the answer to that question lies.

This will probably be the biggest question the Yankees will face heading into the off-season. However, I don't think the answer will negatively effect the Yankees at all.

Either 'Hiro (why am I the only person that calls him this?) opts out, leaving the team to find his replacement to go along with  the aforementioned starter from the first question, or Tanaka stays and rounds out what would be a very nice starting rotation (Severino, Gray, Tanaka, Montgomery, and ?). No matter what, though, I believe the Yankees will spend big on Tanaka, or a free agent like Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish (mind you, the free agents would likely cost more than the $22 million the team would have to pay Tanaka if he doesn't opt-out).

That's right, Hal... somebody's getting paid.

That's the thing! The Yankees should be able to spend big on that rotation spot without having to worry about the Luxury Tax threshold. Let's take a look at that roster again, only this time I'll include those pitchers...

C- Gary Sanchez ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
1B- Greg Bird ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
2B- Starlin Castro $10.857m
SS- Didi Gregorius ~$8m (made $5.1m in his second year of arbitration this season)
3B- Chase Headley $13m
LF- Brett Gardner $11.5m
CF- Jacoby Ellsbury $21.143m
RF- Aaron Judge ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
DH- Clint Frazier ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)

BE- Aaron Hicks ~$3m (made $1.35m in his first year of arbitration this season)
BE- Austin Romine ~$1.5m (made $.805m in his first year of arbitration this season)
BE- Ronald Torreyes ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
BE- Garrett Cooper ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)

SP1- Luis Severino ~$.7 (pre-arbitration)
SP2- Sonny Gray ~$6m (made $3.575m in his first year of arbitration this season)
SP3- Masahiro Tanaka/Jake Arrieta/Yu Darvish $27m (I'll go big on money here just in case)
SP4- Jordan Montgomery ~$.7 (pre-arbitration)
SP5- Chance Adams/Domingo German/Domingo Acevedo ~.7m

CL- Aroldis Chapman $17.2m
RP- Dellin Betances ~$5m (made $3m in his first year of arbitration this season)
RP- David Robertson $13m
RP- Tommy Kahnle ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
RP- Chad Green ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)
RP- Adam Warren ~$3.5m (made $2.29m in his second year of arbitration this season)
RP- Bryan Mitchell ~$.7m (pre-arbitration)

After the $9 million for the final 15 spots on the 40-man roster, that gives us a total of $165.6 million. If you want to figure $10 million for mid-season pickup money, that still leaves the Yankees with $21.4 million to spend on a possible regular DH. And that's without figuring in any savings the team would get should they trade away Gardner and/or Ellsbury (I assume their replacements on the roster would cost less, even if the Yankees picked up some of the remaining salaries).

Honestly, I feel like I'm missing something, because every other writer doesn't see the Yankees getting under the Luxury Tax threshold next season as a certainty at all. Especially if they were to pay upwards of $27 million for a starting pitcher. So please go easy on me if I missed something.

Otherwise, the future of the Yankees is looking better than I already thought it did.

Yankees Statistical Leaders Through 152 Games

The Yankees just took their final off day of the regular season after sweeping away the Minnesota Twins and before beginning a three-game weekend set with the Toronto Blue Jays. New York is on the verge of clinching a playoff spot, whether it be as a division winner or as a Wild Card winner has yet to be determined as of today, so let’s take a look at whose big arms and even bigger bats guided the Yankees to where they are today. Enjoy!

The Yankees Offense

At Bats:

Brett Gardner – 569


Aaron Judge - 146


Brett Gardner - 152


Chase Headley – 30

Home Runs:

Aaron Judge - 45


Aaron Judge - 101

Batting Average:

Starlin Castro - .298

The Yankees Pitching


Luis Severino – 13


Masahiro Tanaka - 11


Starters: Luis Severino - 3.03
Bullpen: Chad Green - 1.93


Starters: Luis Severino - 221
Bullpen: Chad Green - 99


Aroldis Chapman - 20


Masahiro Tanaka - 1

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 9/22

The New York Yankees head to Toronto and head into the weekend with one thing on their minds, winning games and clinching a playoff spot. The Boston Red Sox, the team the Yankees are chasing in the AL East Division, clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday night and now it’s the Yankees turn to do the same this weekend inside the Rogers Centre. Donned with the task of knocking another game or two off New York’s magic number is Masahiro Tanaka who will be on two extra days of rest tonight while the Blue Jays, who look to play spoiler, will counter with Marco Estrada. I’d love personally to clinch a spot at another AL East opponent’s expense so let’s get this done, Yankees style. Enjoy the game.

Tanaka heads into this start fresh off a good start against the Baltimore Orioles in his last start giving up two solo home runs in seven innings of work. Tanaka struck out eight in the Yankees victory, something the Japanese-born right-hander did the last time he faced off with the Toronto Blue Jays as well on August 9.

Estrada expected things to go much easier for himself here in 2017 but unfortunately, like I always say, you can’t predict baseball. Estrada has been better of late though for the Blue Jays allowing three earned runs or less in nine of his last 11 starts including a two-run over eight innings effort against the Minnesota Twins last time out.

The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre and can be seen on WPIX channel 11 and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Need a win, clinch a playoff spot this weekend, and get a win. Go Yankees!

Comparing Didi Gregorius’ 2017 Season to Derek Jeter’s 1999 Season

In case you missed it or were at work like I was when it happened Didi Gregorius set a little bit of Yankees history on Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx against the Minnesota Twins. Gregorius hit his 25th home run of the season passing Yankees legend Derek Jeter for the most by a Yankees shortstop in a single season. Any time you pass Derek Jeter on any list it’s a good thing so I wanted to take the opportunity this morning to not only honor Didi for his incredible achievement but also wanted to take the time to compare the two seasons for no other reason other than I think it would be interesting. Thanks to Baseball Reference here is Didi’s 2017 campaign compared to Jeter’s 1999 season. Enjoy and leave any thoughts or comments below in the comments section. Also, before I begin comparing, I want to point out that I am comparing the two seasons and not necessarily the two players because there is only one Derek Jeter. Thanks for reading.

Standard Batting

Standard Batting

Pretty damn close, isn’t it? Obviously Gregorius won’t play in nearly as many games as Jeter did as Jeter missed just three games that season while Didi began the 2017 campaign on the disabled list but overall Gregorius has done well for himself here this season. Jeter stole more bases, had more RBI and tops Didi in most every stat here but one must remember that at this time Jeter had 30 more games on Gregorius. Jeter was at the top of his game here in 1999 and so were the Yankees as the team was headed to their third World Series championship in four seasons but Didi isn’t that far behind. Are his Yankees though? I guess you’ll have to just stay tuned to the blog and to the games to find out. 

So it Seems...10 Games to Go

Good morning everyone and Happy Friday. Another week down in the season and only 10 more games to go before the postseason. The season is no longer a marathon and the season is no longer a sprint either, it's a full-blown race to the end. 10 games between heading to the postseason and playing golf for the rest of the winter. 10 games come between winners and losers. Who is going to be the most aggressive, who is going to be the most opportunistic and who is going to make the postseason? Stay tuned.

HEY YOU, good morning. I love you.