Friday, July 25, 2014

Kuroda-Led Yankees Out-Slug Blue Jays in Opener

Going into tonight's opener against the Blue Jays, it was common knowledge that Yankees RF Ichiro Suzuki had a significant advantage. 

The 40-year-old veteran, who's struggled to produce this season, was hitting .451 in his career against Jays' Starter Mark Buehrle, giving Yanks fans a rare expectation that he'd contribute to the win.

And, well, he did, lining a go-ahead three-run home run off Buehrle (3 IP, 6 ER) in the bottom of the third as the Bombers rallied for a thrilling 6-4 victory over their rival.

Now for most of this one's early going, the Pinstripes did surprisingly trail, making the spectators at Yankee Stadium nervous the home winning streak against Toronto would end.

Still, thanks to big offensive performances in the second and third the Yanks did find a way to come out on top, the fourth straight day they've done so.

To begin the onslaught that included six crossings of home in two frames, the first four batters of the bottom of the second reached, with a bases-loaded infield single by Brian Roberts driving in the Bombers' first run.

Later in the at-bat, the Pinstripes would score again on a sac fly to deep center from Brett Gardner, cutting what appeared to be a comfortable 3-0 Toronto lead to 3-2.

Then in the next inning, in a sudden turn of events, New York circled the bases four more times, as Carlos Beltran skied one over the left field wall and Ichiro knocked the aforementioned three-run shot to right, causing Jose Bautista's two homers to become worthless and eventually helping Hiroki Kuroda get the W.

Don't get me wrong, Kuroda's 5 2/3 frames of four-run ball weren't amazing, but since the relieving endeavors of David Huff, Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson did close things out #18 was rewarded for besting his counterpart, the seventh time that's happened this year. 

Open Game Thread 7/25: Yankees vs. Blue Jays

Welcome to tonight's open thread for the game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound to face off with Mark Buehrle for the Jays as these two teams battle it out for second place in the AL East. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on MY9, MLB Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

Remember to get your tickets for tonight or any game this weekend right HERE on the blog with out friends at Ticket Monster. If you can't make it live then join us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes or search for The Greedy Pinstripes on Facebook to keep the conversation going.

It's an open thread so use the comments section of the site to chat during the game. Enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your night and the weekend. Go Yankees!

Yankees Hot Stove Update

The New York Yankees and Brian Cashman are extremely active this week as we head towards the trading deadline of July 31. Instead of writing 100 posts detailing all the potential deals I thought one nice and neat little post would be more efficient.

The Yankees are said to be discussing a trade with the Colorado Rockies for Jorge De La Rosa.
New York is discussing an Ian Kennedy trade with the San Diego Padres

Both the Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox have shown some interest in acquiring backup catcher Francisco Cervelli. I have seen the names of De La Rosa, Brett Anderson, and Wilin Rosario thrown around from Colorado and John Danks name mentioned from the White Sox.
The Yankees are not said to be interested in Matt Kemp. That's a shame, his talent would be amazing in New York.

Capuano To Rotation, Whitley To The Bullpen

The New York Yankees must be pretty high on former Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chris Capuano after acquiring him for cash yesterday. Capuano has been moved into the starting rotation and will start tomorrow against the Toronto Blue Jays while Shane Greene will be pushed back to Sunday. Chase Whitley has been moved to the bullpen.

The jury is still out on whether Capuano can pitch well enough in the AL East to be a starting pitcher at age 35 but I guess we find out tomorrow. If this is what Brian Cashman had in mind to get us to the playoffs then color me a little worried.

Marvin Gaye was right.

I'm here to announce I'm a total hypocrite.

Like many sane people, I'm angered at the hypocrisy of the NFL for suspending Josh Gordon a full season for PEDs and Ray Rice 2 games for "allegedly" (I love that word) hitting and abusing his now-wife.

But guess what? I'll be watching football Week 1. Two reasons. 1) I love football. 2) I have to. As a sports talker/big mouth/combination of both, I have to keep up with everything.

Now, am I losing any sleep at night? Do I really think I'm just a total hypocrite? No. I've never really been the activist-type where I'd protest something forever over an incident, although I won't watch any more Woody Allen movies. It just feels wrong to me that the mothership's basically giving out slaps on the wrist for assaulting your fiancee. Stephen A had horrible wording for trying to make a point (Google it if you don't know what he said,) but I don't believe he should be fired over this, nor do I believe he will. Fellow broadcasters, no matter how much I can't stand some of them, have to stick together over speech issues. Unfortunately, it's a competitive world, which brings out the worst in us.

Here's a real problem: has anyone seen the Real Sports segment recently on working conditions in Qatar? In preparation for the World Cup in 2022, Qatar is building 12 futuristic stadiums basically using slave labor from India, Pakistan and Nepal to name a few neighboring nations. FIFA cannot allow this to go on under their noses in a country that may have bought votes to host the Cup there in the first place. These migrant workers live in work camps: eight to a room, long and hard hours, no showers and disgusting kitchens. I will say this: I will not be watching the Cup if Qatar is hosting it, and I feel as the world's leading advocate of democracy, this country shouldn't be paying for any media rights for a Cup with a huge black cloud hanging over it.

Back to baseball: Yankees have a great second-half start, 6-1, although it should be 7-0; I think by the end of the weekend it could easily be 9-1. Toronto simply cannot win in the Bronx; old or new stadium.

One more quick issue: I read a tough but true article on Deadspin. This young sports reporter out in Minnesota, Tom Schreier, talked about his time interning at then start-up Bleacher Report, but fell victim to basically being young at a company acquired from a big conglomerate...after years of reporting for BR, he only was paid $200 for his services. This is a powerful piece in a time where young people are told to stay quiet and not badmouth previous jobs, even if they were mistreated.

That doesn't have to be the culture. We (youth) can become successful and change this in a very simple way: remember where we came from. I hope to be a huge success talking sports not just for myself, but to mentor the guys that are where I am now, instead of shunning them or making them get my coffee. Always remember your roots: that's what I was taught at home.

In the words of Marvin Gaye, "What's goin' on?!" #fullcircle

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

Neil Dwyer

Mark Buehrle Blamed For Blue Jays Slide

Well actually he really wasn't blamed for it out loud but while Mark Buehrle has struggled and slumped so has the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto has lost their grip on the American League East division and are in a dogfight for one of the wild card slots. As we pointed out in our game preview Buehrle has not had a win since June 1, ouch. Maybe this meme is on to something...

Yankees Game Preview 7/25: vs Toronto Blue Jays

The New York Yankees have started the second half of the season on a tear that has included a 6-1 record in this current 10 game home stand. The final series in this home stand begins tonight as the New York Yankees will host the Toronto Blue Jays in the first of a three game weekend set. The Yankees will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound looking to keep the line moving and he will be faced off with the Blue Jays Mark Buehrle. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the MY9, MLB Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Kuroda has been sharp in his last three starts and may have finally found his groove for the Yankees this year after and up and down start to the 2014 season. Kuroda only has one win to show for his efforts in his last three starts but has held teams to a .188 batting average and has pitched to a 2.79 ERA in his last three. Kuroda defeated the Blue Jays in Toronto on June 25 only allowing three runs in 6.1 innings.

Buehrle last pitched against the Texas Rangers and continued his slide in his last three or four starts for the Jays. Buehrle did not factor into the decision while pitching six innings and giving up five runs on eight hits last time out. Buehrle got his 10th win on June 1 and has not won #11 to date, a trend New York hopes continues tonight.

Get your tickets for tonight's game or any game this weekend before the Yankees head back out on the road to end July and start the month of August. Get your tickets here through our blog and get free shipping and no fees at all with your tickets. 

Go Yankees!!

Yankees Early Returns On Traded Players

Brian Cashman is at it again and may marginally upgrade his team all the way to the playoffs. Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Francis, Chase Headley, and now most recently Chris Capuano were not the big names that Yankees fans have grown accustomed to acquiring at this time of the year but the moves have worked out nonetheless. Let's take a look, while remembering the extremely small sample sizes we're dealing with before we anoint Brian Cashman, at the early return on the newest Yankees.

Brandon McCarthy has had the biggest turnaround of any of the new Yankees. McCarthy had a 5.01 ERA in Arizona while struggling with his command, control, and struggling to keep the ball down and in the ballpark. McCarthy has come to New York and dusted off his cutter to the tune of a 1.45 ERA. McCarthy has won two games for New York at home and the first game on the road the team won while McCarthy took a no decision. McCarthy may be the man we talk about in September that truly saved the Yankees rotation and season.

Chase Headley was hitting .229/.296/.355 with seven home runs and 32 RBI. As a member of the Yankees we still haven't heard John Sterling's home run call and Headley's only RBI was of the walk off variety but Headley has slashed a .333/.333/.500 while playing great defense at the hot corner.

The Francis and Capuano stories are obviously marked as incomplete at this point but Headley and McCarthy may have returned the Yankees to prominence.

Yanks Sign Undrafted FA Billy Fleming

The New York Yankees have signed undrafted free agent Billy Fleming out of West Virginia University. Fleming is 6'1" and 200 lbs batting from the right side and playing second base. Fleming will be 22 years old this September and will forego his senior season at WVU to sign his professional contract with the Yankees.

Last season Fleming hit .351 with eight doubles, one triple, two home runs, and 30 RBI for the West Virginian University baseball team. Here are a few quotes from Fleming himself and his former coach Randy Mazey.

“Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming says. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

“Billy Fleming is one of the best baseball players I’ve ever coached, and also one of the best kids,” coach Randy Mazey says. “He was a great a Mountaineer and we’re really going to miss him in our program, but I wish him all the luck in theworld. I really think his desire is going to carry him a long way in professional baseball.”

Yankees Add Capuano to 25 Man Roster; Send Down Leroux

The Yankees have officially added Left-handed Pitcher Chris Capuano to the 25 man roster, The Journal News' Chad Jennings reports.

In doing so, as expected, the team has sent righty Chris Leroux back down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he's been for pretty much the entire season.

While with the Red Sox in 2014, Capuano, a 35-year-old veteran who's played in the majors since 2003, was up-and-down, starting things off strong with 15 straight scoreless innings before giving up 17 runs over his next 16 2/3, causing him to get DFA'd on July 1.

Three days after being cut though, he did sign a minor league deal with the Rockies, the club who gave him another chance yesterday by trading him to the Yanks for cash considerations.

Overall in his career, Capuano has solidly gone 74-84 with a 4.28 ERA, numbers apparently good enough to draw interest, likely landing him a job as the Bombers' fourth lefty reliever.

Also included as a possibility is Capuano starting, although since everyone in the Pinstripes' rotation's doing well right now that probaby won't happen, as the Yanks' underdog group has given up 3+ earned runs just once in the last week.

The '13 Andy Pettitte Connection To '14 Hiroki Kuroda

It has been well documented here on The Greedy Pinstripes and all across the Yankee Universe that Hiroki Kuroda has faded the last two seasons in the Bronx and I think I have the solution to prevent it from being a third times the charm type of scenario. Andy Pettitte was the oldest pitcher in 2013 and did not suffer from the loss of velocity or the loss of command and control of his pitches like Kuroda did, he actually seemed to get stronger as the season went on although some of that could be chalked up to adrenaline. Could we not follow the same protocol and such with this years oldest pitcher in the majors, Hiroki Kuroda, to prevent a similar melt down in the stats department?

Before coming to the Bronx the most innings that Kuroda had thrown in his Major League career with the Los Angeles Dodgers had been 202 IP, although he had only thrown 699 IP in his entire four year Dodgers career. In two seasons in pinstripes Kuroda has already thrown 421 IP and has set a new career high with 219.2 IP in 2012. The number would have been a whole lot more had it not been for those aforementioned well documented melt downs in late August and through September the last two seasons. This could have been a lot more of a glaring problem has Kuroda not pitched six or less innings in seven of his last 10 starts due to the meltdown. Pettitte pitched six or less innings in five of his final eleven starts, August and September, but Pettitte had a 6-5 record in those games where as Kuroda had a 3-7 record down the stretch.

Andy Pettitte on the other hand threw only 185.1 IP in 2013 including a complete game on his final start of his career down in Houston on the second to the last day of the season. While Pettitte's career high in IP in a single season was 240.1 that was way back in 1997. Pettitte had not gone over the 200 IP mark since the 2008 season, including his retirement in 2011 where he did not pitch at all, but his stats did not seem to suffer all that much from it. Pettitte did win a World Series titles in 2009 including pitching in all three of the series clinching games and getting the win with his reduced workload that came with age.

Using Baseball Reference we can see that Kuroda averaged 100 pitcher per start in 2013 and 101 pitcher per start in 2012. Using the same sources we see that Pettitte only averaged 97 pitches per start in 2013 and 94 pitcher per start in 2012. It is also worth noting that before Pettitte averaged 103 pitches in 2009 he did not average over 100 pitches per start since the 2003 season. A few pitches here or there over the course of a long season could be the difference between skipping a start or two, pitch wise, and can make the world of differences. Kuroda went over the 100 pitch mark 21 times in 2013 while Pettitte only did 14 times. It is worth noting also that both men had 11 wins in 2013 so the reduction in pitches should not affect Kuroda as a pitcher that much.

In closing Hiroki is not a spring chicken anymore and has a ton of innings on his arm, treat him like it. Joe Girardi is constantly throwing Kuroda out there like his stud 25 year old ace and not like the 40 year old pitcher that he is. Kuroda should not be throwing complete games much anymore and should not be pushing the 200 IP barrier before September even begins anymore, he is 40 not 30. Kuroda is great but Kuroda has earned the right to be babied and the load on his shoulders lightened as he gets older, not increased. If the Yankees want Kuroda to be fresh all season long and into the playoffs potentially then they need to take a page out of their own books and pretend the #46 is on his back and not the #18 because Kuroda cannot do it anymore for 200+ innings. Eight innings or less, 100 pitches or less, and one more ring and a ride into the sunset for Kuroda and the Yankees.

The Mark Teixeira Decision Expected Any Minute Today

The Mark Teixeira decision is expected to be made today, for better or worse. Either the Yankees will get bad news and have to place Teixeira on the disabled list or he will be in the lineup tonight. Obviously the Yankees are hoping for the latter more than the former although the Yankees are winning without him. 

The Yankees can backdate a DL stint for four days as Teixeira say out the entire series with the Texas Rangers. If the Yankees place Teixeira on the DL Zoilo Almonte will probably be the player called up to replace him. 

Kyle Roller should get a shot but I think we all know how much Brian Cashman seems to be against calling up the young guns. 

Quick Hit: The Yankees Will Be Buyers

Heading into the All Star break it was unclear whether the Yankees would be buyers or not at this year's trading deadline but now I think we know the answer. I know we all probably thought the Yankees would buy, we always do, especially with this being Derek Jeter's last season and all but now it seems like 100%.

The Yankees have stormed out of the gate by sweeping the Cincinnati Reds and have taken three out of four from the Texas Rangers. The Yankees finish a home stand this weekend against the Toronto Blue Jays who have struggled over the years in Yankee Stadium. Pencil in the Yankees for probably at least two wins in this series.

After that the Yankees go out on the road to play Texas again, this time in Arlington, to close out the month and the trading deadline. Meanwhile the Orioles, the team New York is chasing in the division, and the Mariners, the team the Yankees are chasing in the Wild Card, are playing each other making it easier for the Yankees to gain ground.

It's official, the Yankees are buying. It started with Brandon McCarthy, it continued with Chase Headley and Chris Capuano, and will end with... stay tuned for that.

Reminder: It's Derek Jeter's Final Season

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It's not often that I try and use a post here on the blog for a cheap plug but it's Friday and we're about to start the last series of this home stand. With this home stand ending it's just one series closer to saying goodbye to Derek Jeter as a member of the Yankees. Personally I want to savor and remember every single game and memory that I can and what better way to do that then with memorabilia.

The Greedy Pinstripes have a unique partnership with Steiner Yankees Sports that can bring you great deals for all your Yankee memorabilia. We can offer you $50 off any $250 or more purchase through us and Yankee Steiner Sports by clicking HERE. You can also use THIS code to get 20% off your entire order.

Jeter has signed exclusively with Yankee Steiner Sports and Collectibles for all his memorabilia so if you get it anywhere else you really have to question their authenticity. Head over to Yankee Steiner Sports and grab your Yankee memorabilia now. Derek Jeter Signature Collection

This Day In New York Yankees History 7/25: DiMaggio Gets The Call From The Call On Fourth Try

For all those who don't know the full story I will cover it briefly. Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton wrote a book called "Ball Four" that got him banished from Yankee Stadium. For all those who want to read the book a quick Google search can find it for you. On this day in 1998 at Old Timer's Day Bouton was invited back to Yankee Stadium for the first time in almost 30 seasons. Jim's son, Michael, wrote a letter to the New York Times urging the Yankees to reconsider their decision about Bouton and New York obliged.

Also on this day in 1998 the Yankees dedicated a plaque in the memory of Mel Allen, the team's long time play by play announcer. Allen died of heart failure in 1996, he was 83 years old. The plaque described Allen as a "Yankee institution, a national treasure" and even included his signature punch line" How about that?"

Finally on this day in 1995 Joe DiMaggio was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown after spending 13 season with the Bronx Bombers. DiMaggio retired with a .325 batting average and it still took four tries on the ballot before the Yankee Clipper was elected.