Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Yankees offer no support for Pettitte in tough 2-0 loss in Toronto

Despite a great, 6.1 innings of two-run ball from Andy Pettitte, the Yankees offense was only able to rack up 5 hits tonight as they dropped this series' opener to the Blue Jays, 2-0. This one was disappointing. This year, Pettitte hasn't been Pettitte. Now tonight, in one of the biggest games of the year, he finally starts to pitch well. But of course, this game was the game the offense decided to take off. Anyway, on the bright side the Rays also lost this evening, so it's not like the Yankees lost any more ground in the Wild Card Standings. But still, come on offense. Give the old guy a break. 

Dreams...that's all they are.

Alright here's the deal. I'll make this short and sweet. Yankee fans on Twitter were acting suicidal all weekend--did you really not expect to be swept, especially with Clay Buchholz back? The Red Sox are the team to beat in baseball; plain and simple. They have a solid rotation with Bucky, Lester, Peavy and  Lackey. The lineup is perfectly balanced with speed and power, and with Uehara, their bullpen problems have been all but solved. The only highlight of the weekend was the really classy (everyone's been using that word) display from the Red Sox towards Mariano, and the message he wrote on the bullpen wall was simply perfect. EVEN IF the Yankees somehow make a run to the playoffs, AND win the Wild Card game, with the new playoff rules, they'd be playing the Sawx anyway, so it's really a dead end. I guess just getting to the postseason this year will be the goal. Winning the Wild Card game won't be easy either, cause the 'Stripes would have to go on the road to Tampa or Texas, two ballparks they've never been able to win at.

The ultimate sting against Yankee fans? If the Indians, with Terry Francona and NICK SWISHER, somehow ride an easy September cloud nine to October. Swisher can stick a huge middle finger in the fans that booed him out (me being one of them.)

The Yankees have Toronto for three and a demoralized Giants for three. My (non-sensical) math tells me that if they're not 4-2 through those series, they can kiss October goodbye. Who knows who'd be named Manager of the Year? Even if I wasn't biased, I'd say Girardi absolutely deserves it, since he stayed afloat in the summer with Zoilo Almonte, Luis Cruz and Brent Lillibridge in the lineup. But the writers could one again stick with their anti-New York sentiment and name Francona the MOY (which is legitimate since he took a mediocre Indian team to October his first year.) Hell, they could name Ned Yost the MOY for keeping the Royals in the hunt all season! We all know the NL MOY is Clint Hurdle, hands down.

The Yankees have to take advantage of two demoralized teams in the Jays and Giants and let the Rays and Rangers knock each other out. The Orioles are playing the Sawx and the Indians are playing the Royals, so for Yankee fans it's "Go Royals, and yes, Go Sawx!" After those two series, the Yankees play Tampa in the Bronx for three, in Mariano's last home-stand in pinstripes. Stay above .500 guys.

By the way, I don't know about you, but if the Yankees don't make it, I'm absolutely a Pirates fan this fall; love rooting for the underdog. Yankees for life though!

'Till Next Time!

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

Game Thread: Yankees @ Blue Jays 9/17

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays begin a three game set this week north of the border in Rogers Centre with a ton on the line for the Yankees. The Blue Jays are reduced to a spoiler role and the Yankees are fighting for their playoff and wild card lives as the sprint towards October baseball is about to get under way. The pitching match up for this huge game is Andy Pettitte for the Yankees and RA Dickey for the Blue Jays and the game can be seen on MY9 and MLB TV. Go Yankees!

Here is the Yankees lineup:

Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Mark Reynolds 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brendan Ryan SS
Chris Stewart C

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes. #SpringTowardsOctober

Toronto Blue Jays Are Going Down Meme

Just put Derek Jeter's head on his and you got the idea. 

Boone Logan Needs Off Season Elbow Surgery

After seeing Dr. James Andrews yesterday it has been determined that Boone Logan needs an off season elbow surgery but not the surgery we all feared. Boone has a bone spur in his left throwing elbow that may end his New York Yankees career. He was told that he would not make it any worse by pitching through it so there is the off chance that he may be ready to pitch by the weekend but it is all up in the air at this point. Terrible timing for the soon to be free agent entering his age 29 season in 2014. Boone is still expected to be ready for Opening Day of 2014 but this will surely drop his stock just a little. Hey Cesar Cabral, no pressure.

New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 9/17

The spring towards October begins tonight as the New York Yankees travel to Rogers Centre to take on the Toronto Blue Jays for the first of three games. The Yankees wild card hopes are now in their own hands and they must win almost every game to have a shot especially against teams like Toronto that they should beat anyway. The Yankees will send Andy Pettitte to the mound to take on RA Dickey for the Blue Jays. The game will be televised at 7:05 pm ET on MY9 and MLB TV.

Is the Yankees season a bust?

So the Yankees are still fighting in the Wild Card race (along with 5 others) for one of the two Wild Card playoff spots. What happens if we don’t make it? Obviously, we will all be disappointed and it will be the first time since 2008 that we didn’t make the playoffs (and only the second time since 1995 – 18 years!) but does that mean the season will have been a bust?

Let’s think about this. The Yankees are expected to make the playoffs every year, no questions asked and no excuses if they don’t make it. George Steinbrenner was renowned for high expectations and not taking any excuses for poor performance but this time, there may be an argument that we should still be proud to be where we are.

I am like all other Yankees fans and want to see the team succeed, win playoffs and most of all championships. The problem is we do sometimes have to be a bit more pragmatic. Like I pointed out in my last post, the Yankees are an old team and they have seen a huge number of players take trips to the DL. The Yankees have used no less than 56 different players so far this season – 3 shy of the record set by Cleveland in 2002 San Diego in 2002 and 2008.

We’ve had season ending injuries, we’ve had recurring injuries and we’ve had niggly injuries. All of these combined to form what at times has been a real rag tag bunch of ball players, some old, some young, some veterans, some making their debut. No other team has come close to matching the number of unique players used this season. The performance of all these players can only really be described as hit and miss. We’ve seen hot streaks and we’ve seen real cold streaks. Remember May/June when the Yankees were on a real run and showing some good form? It seems like a long time ago now.

The main thing to remember is that all season long, we have fought. At times we have been overwhelmed (Boston being the major antagonists here) and at times we have actually been overwhelming. Despite all of the problems we have had, we have found ways to manufacture wins and keep the season semi respectable.

Let’s get this straight. We are not the World Series winning team of 2009; we are not the team of the late 90’s who could rarely put a foot wrong. We are a team that is in transition. Come the end of the season, we will have people retire (Mo, likely Pettitte), we may lose key players (Cano is a free agent and A-Rod may have to take his suspension), we may have to adapt player’s roles (Jeter).

Nobody knows what the future holds but can we expect the Yankees to bounce straight back next year and be at the top of our game? I’m not sure we can. Hopefully we will have fewer injuries and the lineup will be more consistent but if we look back on this season, you could say it’s been an experiment. Though most definitely, an accidental one as I don’t think anybody would want to go through this. With everything that has happened, we have given certain players who may not have been called up otherwise, a chance to show what they can do. We have been able to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in different situations. We have provided big league experience to guys who otherwise may not have got this for at least another year.

There have been some strange decisions this year regarding who to play/not play and when to take pitchers out of the game but at the end of the day, we are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. A lot has been made of the schedule for our last 13 games and with any luck it will work to our advantage. Right now, all we can do is focus on winning our games. If we can do this and take at least 10 or 11 wins from 13, we can hold our heads high at the end of the season and know that we have done our very best.

At the end of the day, if the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, it will be disappointing but personally, I don’t believe the whole season will have been a bust. We have shown real heart in our games all year and dealt with adversity. We have not rolled over and written off the season (unlike a lot of the analysts!), we have shown real tenacity and that is part of what being a Yankee is all about. We can hold our heads high knowing that we are the Yankees and we have fought all the way. We also know that we will be back and fighting hard again next season.

Obviously, should we make the playoffs and lose in either the wild card playoff or in the divisional championship (most likely to be played against the Red Sox), no doubt people will again claim it’s been a bust. Since halfway through the season nobody expected us to reach the playoffs, I don’t see how it can be.

The Yankees should be proud of their achievements and the fans should be proud of their team.

Unrealistic 2014 Free Agent Targets: Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau has been long coveted by the New York Yankees but the problem is he is a left handed first basemen and the Yankees already have one of those named Mark Teixeira. I know there is always that open designated hitter spot and the platoon option with Teixeira but I cannot see Morneau going for that or a short term contract that would be Yankees friendly. Morneau is entering his age 33 season but seems unlikely to accept a short term deal in the neighborhood of three years in my opinion.

We all know that Morneau can hit in Yankees Stadium, albeit mainly in the old Yankees Stadium, after the absolute show he put on in the 2008 Home Run Derby. His left handed smooth power swing would be tailored made for the short porch in Yankees Stadium and I would think his home runs, RBI's, and batting average would all benefit from playing in the house that George Steinbrenner built. 

The only thing that worries me is Justin is hitting below his career triple slash of .278/.348/.485 with 28 home runs and over 100 RBI's and has for five out of the last six seasons. Is this a decline, is it too many injuries, is it bad luck? I don't really have the answer to that and I don't think we will get the answer to that before he signs a big money free agent deal this off season and I find that deal being very unlikely to come from the New York Yankees.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/17

On this day in 1965 the Yankees honored Mickey mantle for the first of three times right before he played in his 2000th game. Mickey told the fans on this day that he wanted to play for another 15 seasons but would end up retiring in the 1968 season.

On this day in 1977 Yankees DH Dave Kingman becomes the first player to hit a home run for four different teams in one season with his third inning shot. Kingman would hit 26 home runs in 1977 including home runs for the Yankees, Mets, Padres, and Angels.

On this day in 2008 Derek Jeter became the all time hits leader at Yankees Stadium with his 1,270th home run in the house that Ruth built. Jeter would pass none other than Lou Gehrig's team record in the season before the cathedral of baseball was torn down and demolished.