Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gerritse's solid relief helps Scorpions even up their record at .500

Yankees prospect Brett Gerritse pitched a dominant two scoreless innings of relief tonight as the Scorpions won their fourth straight game over who else but the Desert Dogs, 5-1; evening up their seasonal record at 6-6. You may remember me writing that the Scorpions beat the Desert Dogs yesterday 5-1, because they did. The only difference: yesterday's game was in Scottsdale. Today's was in Glendale. 

The only Yankees hitter who played in this one, Peter O'Brien, had an unamazing, but productive game. In 4 at-bats, the catcher/third basemen hit a single and scored a run. When you think about it, that's kinda how every game so far this fall has been for him. But hey, I'll take it. If he was to perform like that at the major league level, I'd give him a high-five. 

My World Series Prediction - Bryan Knepper

Anyone that thinks they can predict sports outcomes is probably broke from betting in Vegas.  Who can predict a fan reaching over the fence to grab a Jeter "Home Run" or the "Bloody Sock" game or my favorite a routine play forever being known as a "Buckner"? But alas, I will give you my predictions for the REMATCH as some out there are calling the 2013 edition of the Fall Classic:

Game 1: at Boston, Wednesday, October 23rd 8:07 pm EST (All games on FOX)

Why 8:07 pm you ask...because we must all be inundated with AT LEAST 7 minutes of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver spouting off whatever it is they deem important on any given night.  Did someone say McCarver was retiring? Can he take Joe Buck with him? Please...?

Pitching Matchup: Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA)

Projected Starting Lineups:

St. Louis
1. Matt Carpenter - 2b
2. Carlos Beltran - rf
3. Matt Holiday - lf
4. Allen Craig - dh
5. Yadier Molina - c
6. David Freese - 3b
7. Mike Adams - 1b
8. John Jay - cf
9. Pete Kozma - ss

1. Jacoby Ellsbury - cf
2. Shane Victorino - rf
3. Dustin Pedroia - 2b
4. David Ortiz - dh
5. Mike Napoli - 1b
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia - c
7. Jonny Gomes - lf
8. Stephen Drew - ss
9. Xavier Bogaerts - 3b

Both pitchers are veterans of the postseason and are known as big game pitchers.  Even though Wainwright had the edge in stats over the regular season, Lester can be dominant at home as he has only given up 3 earned runs in the last 14.0 innings at Fenway, equivalent to a 1.93 ERA.  While the Cardinals' "ace" only gave up 2 earned runs vs. the Dodgers in his last road start in the postseason, no offense to Los Angeles, but Boston is a different kind of offensive juggernaut.  They score in bunches and are willing to grind out a starting pitcher to get deep into the bullpen of the opposing staff.  While St. Louis boasts a better bullpen than Detroit's (what the heck Benoit? right down the middle to Ortiz up by 4 runs...??), I see Boston using their home series advantage (re: the Big Green Monster) to jump out to a 1-0 series lead.  Although having Craig in the lineup at DH helps the Cards big time in the threat of run production, I just don't see Boston losing Game 1 at home...the fans will just be too hyped up for the Sox to let it slip away.

Game 1 Prediction: Red Sox 5 Cardinals 3 (Boston up 1-0)

Game 2: at Boston, Thursday, October 24th 8:07 pm EST

Pitching Matchup: Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA) vs. John Lackey (10-13, 3.52 ERA)

Wacha, wacha, wacha! I couldn't resist...so sue me... Call it a gut feeling, but there is just something about this rookie that tells me he will not fold under pressure.  Needing a win in Game 2, Wacha will take the mound and dominate turning over the game to the bullpen late and shut down the Red Sox much like Scherzer did for the Tigers...for his sake, hopefully the bullpen holds.  For Lackey's part, I believe he will keep Boston in the game, but some type of late game heroics by the likes of Yadier Molina will ensue giving the Red Birds the win going home to St. Louis.

Game 2 Prediction: Cardinals 2 Red Sox 1 (Series tied 1-1)

Game 3: at St. Louis, Saturday, October 26th 8:07 pm EST

Could they really not start the game any earlier...granted, I will be able to sleep in for a late morning church service, but come on...start it at around 6 pm so that it doesn't compete with the College Football Saturday night game...not smart planning by MLB or FOX in my humble opinion.

Pitching Matchup: Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69 ERA)

The big question will be what manager John Farrell will do with Ortiz...will he risk putting the lumbering giant in the field to keep his clutch bat in the lineup?  If he does...what then happens with Napoli...move him back to catcher?...that's plausible enough I guess.  The non-DH battle will definitely favor St. Louis as their pitchers historically hit well (for pitchers).  Ultimately this will be a game decided by starting pitching.  Joe Kelly gave up 4 earned runs in 5 innings in his last start, while Buchholz has been roughed up in the last 3 postseason games giving up 19 hits and 10 earned runs.  His only other postseason game came in 2009 where he gave up 2 earned runs in 5 innings.  This may end up being a long-relief type of game for both teams ultimately decided by the closers in more than 1 inning of relief.  The obvious edge in that department would go to the Red Sox with Uehara.

Game 3 Prediction: Red Sox 8 Cardinals 5 (Boston up 2-1)

Game 4: at St. Louis, Sunday October 27th 8:07 pm

Okay FOX, we get it...you want baseball fans to be punished on Monday morning at work as we roll into our offices and/or cubicles on only 4 hours of sleep...because we all know that Red Sox or Yankees games last at least 7 hours long in the postseason.

Game 4 will be the pivotal game in the series in my opinion...a statement game if you will.  Whichever team wins this game will win the series.  And what a pitching matchup they have in store for you!

Pitching Matchup: Jake Peavy (12-5, 4.17 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (15-10, 3.97 ERA)

Not too impressive on the regular season stats.  Not too impressive in Peavy's last outing either...as he sported a 21.00 ERA vs. the Tigers giving up 7 earned runs in 3 innings of work.  But at least his arm will be rested!  Lynn hasn't been dominant by any stretch of the imagination giving up 2 earned in 5 1/3 in his last start against the Mattinglys (err: Dodgers).  But he won that game.  In fact he won 2 games in the NLCS backed by less than stellar run support.  He keeps his team in the game, which is exactly what I expect to happen in St. Louis.  The edge in this game goes to the Cardinals.

Game 4 Prediction: Cardinals 5 Red Sox 3 (Series tied 2-2)

Game 5: at St. Louis, Monday October 28th 8:07 pm

In a rematch of Game 1, Adam Wainwright will solidify his postseason greatness (see 2006 postseason where he pitching in 9 games and gave up exactly ZERO runs and only allowed 9 base runners)...yeah, that kind of greatness.  I can see Wainwright going deep in this one with a potential shutout, which he will have to produce as Lester will deal inning for inning with him.  Ultimately some type of judgement call by an Umpire or some fluke play will decide the outcome, with St. Louis having the edge as the home team.

Game 5 Prediction: Cardinals 2 Red Sox 1 (St. Louis up 3-2)

Games 6 and 7: at Boston, Wednesday and Thursday Oct 30-31 8:07 pm

In predictable fashion, this series will go the distance, at least in terms of equal playing time on each field. Whether it ends in 6 or 7 games doesn't really matter.  Boston will have all of the pressure on them with their home-field advantage and the Cardinals led by loose players such as Yadier Molina will play like they have nothing to lose.  I see the Cards taking 1 of the final 2 games in Boston to win their 3rd World Series title since 2006.

Game 6 Prediction: Red Sox 8 Cardinals 5 (Series tied 3-3)

Game 7 Prediction: Cardinals 5 Red Sox 2 (St. Louis wins Series 4-3)

FOX definitely hopes my predictions are right, because they would have the whole Midwest and New York area cheering for it.  Whichever team wins, they will be the only team to win 3 World Series in the last 10 years and most likely be favored to win it again next year.  The teams couldn't be more even if you tried, with each having 97-65 regular season records (best in their respective leagues).  If you made it this far in this article, you are probably wondering which team I placed a bet on...guess I'll head on over to the casino in the morning.

My Predictions For The 2013 World Series Winner - Can I Pettitte?

The Fall Classic, or World Series, begins Wednesday October 23rd although it should have been cancelled in my opinion. I have tried hard to avoid MLB this post-season because my beloved Yankees are not a part of it, but unfortunately I have been unsuccessful. Throughout the post-season I have watched EACH team I hoped would win fall short: Indians, Rays, Pirates, Dodgers, Tigers… so my prediction truly has nothing to do with my loyalty or personal feelings. 

While it is true that "the best offense is a good defense," Yankee fans (and other fans) are all aware that teams need to be able to drive in runs in order to win games. Both the Cardinals and the Red Sox have a strong pitching rotation (some may argue that the Cardinals pitching rotation is stronger) but the Red Sox seem to have the magic with them this year (David Ortiz, Shane Victorino). The Red Sox have proven that they have reliable pitchers as well as a strong lineup that comes through in clutch situations (one that resembles the 2009 Yankees Comeback Kids) and it is for this reason that in the end I unfortunately see Duck Dynasty… I mean the Red Sox… winning the 2013 World Series in 6 games, at Fenway Park. 

Also… shout out to Mariano Rivera for helping the Red Sox get home field advantage. 

And to those of you saying that this series will be a pitcher's duel... another shout out to the winningest pitcher in post-season history, ANDY PETTITTE. 

I will be a good sport and say that I wish the best of luck to both the Cardinals and the Red Sox. However, if it is possible for both teams to lose… I'm rooting for that. 

My World Series Prediction - Jack Niemuth

Tonight, for the fourth straight year, the World Series will begin without our New York Yankees. But that's OK, because the Red Sox are in it, meaning that we at least have somebody to root against. Since I'm a Yankees fan, I obviously want to see the Cardinals win, but since the Red Sox have the home field advantage I must pick them. I just see the home team winning every game of this series. The Sox just seem to have a better offense that will play much better at Fenway Park. So, that's my pick; Red Sox in 7. Let's hope I'm wrong. 

My prediction for the 2013 World Series - Clive Barker

When the World Series starts later, it will be the first time since 1999 that the team with the best American League record faces off against the team with the best National League record. Normally, when it comes to the World Series, I always have a gut feeling about who will win (with varying degrees of accuracy), but this time, I find myself torn. The Yankees should be there (I know they didn't play like it at times but we surely deserved it!) but in my mind, the Yankees should always be there. Therefore, I'm torn between two teams who aren't the Yankees. I really don't like the Red Sox and I don't care either way about the Cards.

On the one hand, Boston is on the brink of staging possibly one of the biggest turnarounds in history. Let’s face it; they were shocking in 2012 under Bobby Valentine! For them to regroup and come back the way they have and be pretty dominant for the entire year, it’s hard to bet against them.

On the other hand, we have the Cardinals who have made it to the World Series for the second time in three years (having lost the 2012 NLCS). They are the consistent team it seems at the moment but they seem to fly below the radar a bit. Most people tend to focus on what is happening in the American League (and normally the AL East primarily) and almost leave the National League alone a bit. There is no denying though that the Cards are the dominant NL team this year.

It may sound strange but the Red Sox seem to be playing for something more than the game since the terrible events at the Boston Marathon. They seem to be playing for the city and to prove that Boston really is strong. The camaraderie and team ethic they seem to have this year is going to be difficult to beat in my mind.

Whilst the Cards have been the consistent team over the last few years, I really don’t think the Red Sox will be stopped and therefore, I am tipping them to take the World Series in 6 games

The "Bronx Bombers" Comes To Broadway In 2014

The Bronx Bombers will be headed to Broadway starting in 2014 as the Yankees will have their own show next year. The play will have follow Yankees legend Yogi Berra and his wife Carmen as they follow him through his New York Yankees career. Bronx Bombers begins on January 10th in Broadway and with the Yankees obvious backing to this and their name it should be good. I encourage everyone to go check it out at least once and support your team, even if it is on Broadway.

King: Yankees Interested In Drew And Maholm

With the New York Yankees set to reportedly drop in excess of $300 million this offseason on free agents, including their own of course with Robinson Cano and Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees will be linked to everyone no doubt this winter. The winter started early yesterday as we were linked to Odrisamer Despaigne from Cuba and Suk Min Yoon from Korea and today we get a whole new round of rumors.

 George A. King reports that the Yankees will be interested in Boston Red Sox short stop Stephen Drew and Atlanta Braves left handed pitcher Paul Maholm. One of these I buy and one of these I see as only a ploy to drive up the price. One guy I see here I would take a chance on and one I would probably just pass on. Drew I think I would ultimately pass on because I think the Yankees are only "interested" in driving up the price for Boston. Maholm is a left handed starter to replace Andy Pettitte so I would at least kick the tires if the price was right but I cannot see that being the case.

Drew already turned us down once to go to Boston for more playing time and with Derek Jeter healthy coming into 2014, yes for real this time, he figures to get even less playing time next season as he thought he would have gotten this season. Pass on him and .253/.333/.403 triple slash, Boston can keep him. I am personally comfortable going with defense first with Brendan Ryan if Jeter is not back healthy as long as we bulk up elsewhere, ie catcher and right field. 

Maholm is interesting only because of his left throwing arm. Maholm's 4.41 ERA and elbow trouble in the second half in the national league does not excite me when I think about what those numbers would look like in the AL East. I know he is a ground ball guy with over 51% of his outs coming on ground balls but I speculate that he will want to be paid as a middle of the rotation guy, and he isn't one. If we can get Maholm as a 5th starter for 5th starter money sign me up, if not pass or we will get smashed. 

Did Jim Leyland Retiring Hurt The Yankees?

Before we get going I want to point out that this is pure speculation and we have not have a report come down substantiating this. With that said how in the world can Jim Leyland retiring as the manager of the Detroit Tigers hurt the Yankees you ask? Tony Pena, that's how.

Pena has been linked to job after job over the years but the jobs are always teams like the Kansas City Royals or other "unattractive" offers. The Detroit Tigers though, how could someone logically turn that down? How fun is it to watch Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer pitch four times a week and how fun is it to fill out a lineup card with Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Austin Jackson, etc. The core is there, the future is there, the ownership is willing to spend, and the division that they play in is weak.

The thing that worries me the most about losing Pena to Detroit is the fact that he has done more than enough to deserve it and to have earned it. Pena has managerial experience with the Kansas City Royals leading them to their first winning season in 2002 in over eight seasons and also won the Manager of the Year Award in 2003 in Kansas City. Pena almost already jumped ship in 2011 when Terry Franconca was fired, which the job eventually went to Bobby Valentine, so the fear that Pena would take a job if the job was right should be real. Pena has been a coach on the Yankees since the 2005 season under Joe Torre and even interviewed to manage the Yankees in 2008 when the Yankees hired Joe Girardi which shows his willingness and will to manage. I think that will and his success over the years will find him in Detroit in 2014 and I will be sad to see him go.

Yankees Arbitration Estimates

While it's nearly impossible to predict the salaries for arbitration eligible players, Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors has come up with a very accurate formula for doing so. It's not perfect, but he's been able to predict arbitration salaries within 5% the last few years.

Over the weekend the Offseason Outlook for the Yankees was published at MLBTR, and it included Matt's arbitration estimates. However, this morning, those figures were updated to the following (my estimates are in parenthesis)...

David Robertson: $5.5 million ($5 million)
Brett Gardner: $4 million ($6 million)
Ivan Nova: $2.8 million ($2.5 million)
Shawn Kelley: $1.5 million ($1.5 million)
Jayson Nix: $1.5 million 
Francisco Cervelli: $1 million
Chris Stewart: $1 million

I didn't predict the salaries of Nix, Cervelli, or Stewart as I didn't include them on my 2014 roster. However, I'm happy that my predictions were likely too high, meaning the Yankees could do what I'd like and have a little bit more money to work with to do things like strengthen the bullpen.

Just A Heads Up For The Blog Tonight

I apologize in advance but updates on the site will be somewhere between sporadic and nonexistent tonight as I am taking the night off to go see my favorite band in concert. My wife is taking me to see Smile Empty Soul tonight for my birthday present and I intend to fully enjoy it as this is the fourth time I have seen them in less than a year, yes I am spoiled. Just wanted to let everyone know so nobody thought I died, filed a missing persons report, or anything crazy like that. We will be back to full strength tomorrow, assuming you don't need a voice to type, so everyone enjoy the day! If you get bored or curious and want to see what is going to cause me to go deaf and mute tonight watch the video above.

Current Arizona Fall League Standings - 10/22

The Scorpions are currently 3.5 games out of first place in the AFL East. 

Scorpions win streak continues with another victory over the Desert Dogs

Thanks to strong pitching and a consistent offense all night, the Scorpions were able to easily beat the Desert Dogs last night in Scottsdale, 5-1. Yankees prospects Peter O'Brien and Tyler Austin were both given this one off, so outfielder Mason Williams was the only Yankee who played. 

In 3 at-bats in this game, Williams went 1-for-3 with a single, two walks, and two scored runs. As just mentioned, he was the only Pinstripe who suited up for this victory, as no pitchers appeared in this game either. I'd rather see more of the guys I care about play in these games, but, as long as they win, I don't care. 

Mariano Rivera 2013 Highlights

Let's take one more look at Mariano Rivera in his final season in baseball with the New York Yankees. I hope you are enjoying retirement Mo! Enjoy!

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/22

On this day in 1967 Joe DiMaggio was named the Athletics executive vice president and consultant for the team. DiMaggio was also named a part time hitting coach and a public relations advocate for the club although Joe would leave the A's after just two years with the organization.

On this day in 1974 the Yankees and a Giants pulled off a trade that saw Bobby Bonds come to New York and Bobby Murcer head to San Francisco. This, at the time of course, was considered to be the biggest one for one trade in the history of baseball. Both players made over $600,000 marking the first time two players making that much money were traded in the same deal. Murcer was donned the next Mickey Mantle while Bonds was donned the next Willie Mays so this was a huge trade at the time.

On this day in 2000 in Game 2 of the Subway World Series the Yankees extended their World Series consecutive games winning streak to 14 games. The Yankees beat the Mets 6-5, not that anyone really remembers the score. This game will always be remembered for Roger Clemens innocently, yes I am completely biased and humble, throwing a bat in the general direction of Mike Piazza. This came on the heels of Clemens drilling Piazza in July which resulted in the benches clearing before cooler heads prevailed.

On this day in 2003 the Yankees Jeff Weaver gave up a home run to the Marlins Alex Gonzalez to tie the series up at two games a piece and give the Marlins a 4-3 victory in 12 innings. This game also ended the Yankees consecutive games winning streak in extra innings at seven games.