Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sorry, no sale.

I wrote the other day that I wasn't buying into the Yankees' explanation of why Jeter was brought up. Now I have another problem (Surprised?) While the American League scored their third and final run in the top of the eighth inning of the All-Star game last night, FOX panned to the AL bullpen and showed none other than the great Rivera in the bullpen!

But hold on now? I thought Mariano was a closer! Well apparently AL manager Jim Leyland thought this was 1996, the last time Mo was John Wetteland's set-up man before taking over the closer role in '97. Now the tribute itself was unbelievably moving; first off it didn't have a tough act to follow. Neil Diamond almost spoke, not sung, the lyrics to "Sweet Caroline." Also, he sang the ENTIRE song, which felt like an eternity. After he left the field, "Enter Sandman" blared through the Citi Field speakers as Mariano trotted out by himself. All the players left the field and gave Mo his moment, of course with a standing ovation.

While the tribute to baseball's greatest reliever (not just closer, he was an un-hittable setup man in '96) was wonderful, HOW IS MARIANO NOT CLOSING THAT GAME? I Googled it this morning to attempt to find some scathing review of Leyland's decision, but was shocked to find many "writers" agreeing with him. The consensus basically was that Mariano should absolutely, 100% should have his moment in the sun, without any possible chance of blowing the save. Leyland told the Detroit Free Press in this article that if the NL rallied in the ninth, Mo might've not been able to get in the game, which would've been frowned upon, I guess. Here's a couple of points:

1) Mo has 4 All-Star Game saves. ('97, '05, '06, '09)
2) That eighth-inning lineup was insanely unchallenging; shaky Joe Nathan could've served a better purpose in that role.
3) With a runner at first and Pedro Alvarez up in the 9th, and GLEN PERKINS warming, I said, "Boy, there's no one I'd rather have warming with a tying run on deck then GLEN PERKINS! WHY WOULDN'T YOU WANT MARIANO IN THE TOUGHEST SITUATION IN THE BALL GAME?"

Look, it's not like the NL posed any gigantic threat in the late innings; I knew the AL would win, and this whole thing wasn't a cardinal sin. We're probably already over it. But it just didn't feel right having Mo come in for the 8th, in his last All-Star Game, in NEW YORK.

Sorry Leyland, no sale.

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

Trenton Thunder Game Recap 7/17

Press Release - July 17, 2013
Reading Comes from Behind to Win Game, Series
READING, PA – Reading All-Star Jim Murphy slugged two home runs to bring the Fightin Phils back from an early deficit and eventually to a 6-5 win over the Trenton Thunder FirstEnergy Stadium.
On a day where the temperatures climbed into the mid-90s, Reading took the final two games of the three-game series as the Thunder (48-48) completed their road trip with three wins in the seven games. The team will begin a seven-game home stand- and a stretch of 19-of-27 games at home- Thursday night.
Murphy bashed his Eastern League-leading 17th and 18th home runs of the season off Trenton starting pitcher Sean Black (2-3). Black was handed a 3-0 lead before he took to the mound in the bottom of the first inning, but allowed six runs (six earned runs) on ten hits in 5.0 innings of work.
After Murphy’s second home run gave the Fightin Phils a 4-3 advantage, Trenton DH Andrew Clark drilled a two-run home run (3) to the pool in right field in the top of the 4th against Reading starting pitcher Seth Rosin (7-4). Trenton did not score again the rest of the ballgame.
Yeral Sanchez’s RBI single in the top of the first began a three-run rally with two outs. Clark followed with a two-run double to left field. Sanchez finished the ballgame 3-for-4 in his Eastern League debut with three singles, an RBI and two runs scored.
Reading took the lead for good in the bottom of the 5th. Zach Collier’s RBI triple tied the score 5-5, and Maikel Franco single him home for the go-ahead run one batter later.
The Thunder and Fightin Phils completed their three-game series Wednesday, and the Thunder return home for a seven-game homestand beginning Thursday night against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at 7:05 p.m. The four-game series opener features RHP Zach Nuding (3-10, 4.20) for the Thunder facing New Hampshire’s RHP Deck McGuire (5-7, 5.45).  Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and streaming online begins at 6:45 p.m.

Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original post can be seen HERE

New York Yankees Injury Updates 7/17

We already heard that Alex Rodriguez is set to join the Yankees on Monday if all goes well this week in Scranton so let's hear about the guys that we haven't heard about 1,000,000 times.

Derek Jeter will be evaluated Friday before the game with the Boston Red Sox and the team will make the decision then whether he will play, continue to rest, be integrated slowly as a bench player, or head to the disabled list. Hopefully it's not the later but at this point this season I would not be surprised by anything.

Curtis Granderson is taking batting practice in the underground batting cage at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa. There is no timetable as to when he will start a rehab assignment or think about joining the Yankees but progress is progress.

David Phelps is throwing bullpen sessions and working out at the Yankees minor league complex. David said everything feels fine and is only expecting to miss one start for the Yankees with this forearm tightness.

The Yankees shut down Francisco Cervelli for two weeks after they discovered a stress reaction in his right elbow and he apparently is still shut down. We have not heard anything out of Cervelli on his Facebook fan page, his Twitter account, or God himself Brian Cashman but I figured that no news is not always good news when it comes to injury updates.

Jayson Nix is also down in the minor league complex rehabbing his hamstring injury that has sidelined him for nearly a month. No word yet on when a rehab assignment could start but he does not seem to be anywhere close to that kind of discussion yet.

Corban Joseph was told that he will miss the remainder of the 2013 season with a shoulder surgery. That's a shame since he is on the 40 man roster but he seems like the obvious transfer to the 60 day DL to make room for Alex Rodriguez on the 40 man roster.

Vidal Nuno and Brennan Boesch are both on the AAA disabled list with a groin injury and a shoulder injury respectably and neither are anywhere close to being on the call up radar. Neither are working out or doing any kind of rehab so the Yankees should not count on them any time soon, if at all this season.

Mark Montgomery has made two rehab appearances for the Gulf Coast Yankees while making a comeback from a throwing shoulder injury. His MRI has come back clean and he is back in live game action so I expect him back with the Railriders soon.

Ronnier Mustelier is also playing in rehab games for the Gulf Coast Yankees after spending a month or more on the AAA disabled list. He has been playing all over the field, something that the Yankees need, and seems to be the closest of any of our rehabbing guys not named Alex Rodriguez to be in line for a promotion to the Yankees.

Is Rental Justin Morneau Worth Trading JR Murphy For?

The New York Yankees have not gotten the kind of production that we are accustomed to at first base and that comes just in time, no pun intended, as the Twins announced that they are ready to trade Justin Morneau. The Yankees are obviously interested, even though I personally think that they shouldn't necessarily be, and are offering a combination or all of Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and JR Murphy for Morneau. Morneau does not solve many of our problems as he is still a left handed first basemen that does not provide us much more flexibility or depth or balance in the lineup. The Yankees have also not gotten what they expected or could have wanted out of Austin Romine this season which is all the more reason we should not be trading a JR Murphy. If Morneau was not a rental player then I would definitely be thinking about this more because obviously I know what Morneau can bring to the team and all that but I hate trading away major league ready and potentially potent talent a little too early for rental players. Please, please, PLEASE, do not trade JR Murphy for a rental player like Justin Morneau. If the Yankees want to trade him for, say, a Matt Adams from St. Louis then I could not say no to that but not for a rental. Pass in my book but then again nobody has ever read my book.

Alex Rodriguez Will Be In Yankees Lineup Monday

The Alex Rodriguez era in New York is about to begin once again as his 20 day rehab assignment is up on Monday July 22nd. The Yankees and Alex have all but confirmed that Alex will be activated on Monday and be in the starting lineup for the Yankees for the first time this season. Alex has struggled a little bit in his rehab assignment but has come on lately batting .286 in limited time with the Trenton Thunder. Alex will play with the Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders Thursday-Sunday and will be activated Monday assuming all goes well health wise. Love him or hate him we need Alex Rodriguez this season and he will be a sight for sore eyes at the hot corner for the Yankees. Welcome back Alex!

Trenton Thunder Activate Kyle Roller Off Disabled List

Press Release - July 17, 2013
Kyle Roller Activated From Thunder DL

The Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced Wednesday that first baseman Kyle Roller has been activated from the team's disabled list after missing two weeks with an ankle sprain.  Outfielder Shane Brown has been placed on the DL with knee bursitis, while catcher Nick McCoy has been activated from the DL and transferred to Class-A Charleston.

Roller missed the past 12 games after rolling an ankle on July 2nd at Portland.  He still leads all Thunder players in batting average (.270, highest among qualifiers), home runs (11) and RBI (42). 

Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. 

Alex Rodriguez's Rehab Assignment Moves To Scranton

Alex Rodriguez's time playing for the Trenton Thunder was short but pretty productive overall and is now over. A Rod used the off day to travel to Scranton Wilkes Barre to continue his rehab assignment tomorrow night as a member of the Railriders. Alex will play all weekend for the Railriders before his rehab clock ends on Monday July 22nd. Progress is always good and the Yankees definitely need him so great news in Yankees land.

The Reds A Suitor For Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain?

The New York Yankees are looking to trade both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain according to various reports. The Cincinatti Reds are 53-42 and are 4.5 games behind in the National League Central with a run differential of +63. The Reds have a very prolific offense as it must be extremely easy and almost fun to fill out that Reds lineup every day but the pitching is what is going to make or break the Reds this season. The Yankees seem to have, for lack of a better word, a surplus of pitching so are the two teams considered to be a trade match? Let's take a closer look.

The Reds starting rotation currently is topped off with Mat Latos and followed by Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, and Tony Cingrani. The only starter that I could see the Reds willing to get rid of to make room for a Phil Hughes type would be Bronson Arroyo and I do not see many suitors for him. Also with Johnny Cueto coming off of the disabled list that makes the Reds pretty stacked at starting pitching again so there probably would not be a lot of room for Phil Hughes, but what about Joba Chamberlain?

The Reds bullpen seems to be pretty suspect outside of closer Aroldis Chapman so Joba Chamberlain may intrigue the Reds just a little bit. Sam LeCure has been great with a 2.23 ERA and 1.13 WHIP but those are far below his career average so I expect those to come down to Earth sooner rather than later. JJ Hoover, Logan Ondrusek, Manny Parra, and Curtis Partch have neither been stellar or terrible and would not represent a significant upgrade for us. Alfredo Simon has been very solid with a .217 batting average against and a 1.07 WHIP but that is probably the reason that the Reds will hold on to him. The Reds seem like they would be in the market to upgrade their bullpen at the trading deadline so would they be interested in Joba Chamberlain?

Here is a better question, what would the Reds have to trade in a potential deal for Joba Chamberlain? We would probably have interest in a right handed 3B Todd Frazier but I am not entirely sold on the idea that the Reds would be willing to hand the reigns to Jack Hannahan full time. Frazier is a right handed bat at the hot corner that has been better than any player we have thrown out there this season so the interest should definitely be there. The Yankees would probably love to have Tony Cingrani with tons of team control left as a starting pitcher that has had success this year but for all those reasons the Reds will probably hold on to him. Even though they have a young core of Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto I think they will probably want to hold on to Cingrani, especially for a rental reliever. Devin Mesoraco would also be an interesting piece to look at if he were just a rental player but that is not the case so I do not see the Yankees making a serious run at him this season.

With all this said I think that the Reds and the Yankees do not match up for a trade in my opinion. If the Yankees want major league ready talent right now unfortunately so I cannot see a trade happening  as much as I would like Cingrani for Joba. I can dream I guess but I think it is time to keep looking out for potential trade suitors for two thirds of our "BIg Three" from 2007, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.

Yankees Should Reset Their Rotation For Boston Series

The All Star break can and should give the Yankees a chance to reset their rotation with a very important series with the Boston Red Sox looming this weekend. The Yankees have announced that they will be sending out Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and CC Sabathia in that order to the mound to face off with the team they are chasing in the AL East. This is, in my opinion, what the Yankees should send out to face the Red Sox hitters.

CC Sabathia got the start against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday in the final start before the All Star game and the first half and would lineup up to pitch on normal rest in the first game of the Boston series. CC Sabathia is our ace, even if in name only, and gives us a better shot to win against the Red Sox then say an Andy Pettitte at this point.

Hiroki Kuroda pitched last Friday night against the Twins and would line up to pitch Saturday's game against Boston with two extra days rest. Kuroda has been our ace in every facet of the word and these are games that we almost must have at this point so we have to find a way to get Kuroda into the series.

Phil Hughes is too home run friendly and Andy Pettitte has been awful lately so the only option we have is to continue pitching the hot hand of Ivan Nova. Now I know that Nova would be pitching on 10 days rest so theoretically we could switch him and CC Sabathia out and give the big man a few days extra rest as well but either way lately Nova has been our 3rd best pitcher and has to find his way into this series. Whether it be 8 days rest or 10 I worry about potential rust and command issues but it is what it is at this point.

This series with Boston is a make or break series in my opinion because of what it could mean. If we get swept we could fall too far out of contention and go into a sell mode. If we sweep then we may become more aggressive in buying at the trade deadline. If we win or lose two out of three then the picture just becomes more and more grayed. Either way we have to give our team the best shot to win or even sweep this series and we do that with these three men on the field.

Trenton Thunder Game Recap For 7/16

Press Release - July 16, 2013
A-Rod Drives Home a Run in 6-3 Loss

READING, PA – The Thunder brought the go-ahead run to the plate after trailing 6-2 entering the 9th inning, but Andrew Clark flew out to center field to end the ballgame with the bases loaded in Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Reading Fightin Phils.

The Thunder and Fightins were tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the 7th inning before Mikey O’Brien ran into trouble. He allowed five straight batters to reach with one out, and was removed from the game. Four runs came home in the inning to give Reading the lead for good- at that point, 6-2.

Alex Rodriguez made his second-consecutive start for the Thunder and finished 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly to center field in four plate appearances. One night after going 2-for-4 with a homer, A-Rod didn’t have quite the same prolific performance at the plate, but he still drove home a run in the game.

Tied 1-1 in the 2nd inning, Rodriguez had runners at first and third and one out when he lofted a fly ball to centerfield. It carried Reading centerfielder Cesar Hernandez back towards the warning track, and was plenty deep enough to score Shane Brown from third base.

It was one of two runs that Brown scored as part of his 2-for-3 game. Brown was one of five players on the Thunder to notch multiple hits as part of an 11-hit performance. Brown was joined by Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott, Cody Grice and Jose Gil, but the Thunder stranded 11 runners on base in the contest.

Despite the loss, Trenton has still won seven of their last ten games. The win snaps an eight-game losing streak for Reading.    
The Thunder and Fightin Phils complete their three-game series Wednesday with the rubber game at 12:05 p.m. The game features RHP Sean Black (2-2, 3.00) for the Thunder facing Reading’s LHP Jesse Biddle (3-9, 3.33).  Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and streaming online begins at 11:50 a.m.

Posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original article can be seen HERE

Morning Bits

Good morning everyone!

Mariano Rivera was named the MVP of the All-Star Game last night as the AL defeated the NL by a score of 3-0.

Pitching a perfect eighth inning, Rivera was given a rousing cheer by fans and players alike.

Robinson Cano was hit by a 97 MPH fastball thrown by Matt Harvey in the first inning and taken out of the game. X-Rays were negative and Cano was diagnosed with a contusion to a quad muscle.  Cano said he will be good to go on Friday when the Yankees resume their season against the Red Sox in Boston.

Now on to today's news links:

John Harper of the New York Daily News has this piece on Mariano Rivera's special All-Star night.

Phil Watson of Yahoo sports says the Yankees need to answer these questions after the All-Star break.

Jon Heyman of reports that the market on Phil Hughes isn't what the Yankees thought it would be.

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes about Bud Selig's hint that A-Rod is about to be suspended.

Brendan Prunty of the Star-Ledger writes that Robinson Cano's father is confident that his son will remain a Yankee.

If you are looking to get to a Yankee game check out the Ticket Exchange for some great prices.

Have a great day everyone!

This Day In New York Yankees History 7/17

On this day in 1941 Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak was snapped in a game against the Cleveland Indians. After this game he will hit in another 17 straight games to hit safely in 73 of his last 74 games. This is a record that will never be broken for as long as we live in my opinion.

On this day in 1987 Don Mattingly became the first player in American League history to hit a home run in seven consecutive games.