Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gooooood Night, Yankees!

Oy vey. The combined death of one of the funniest men who's ever lived, Robin Williams, and the ugly end of the Yankee bullpen rearing its head on Monday made the night too much too bear.

Bottom line: if the Yankees lose tomorrow, they can pretty much kiss the division goodbye. Eight games out with a month and a half to go is just too much ground to cover, although we'll see how the Orioles will respond to the absence of Manny Machado. As of right now, Machado has a right knee sprain; no DL news yet.

The Yankees, like my college football team (and alma mater on December 18th--time flies) the Hurricanes, simply play down to their competition. They outduel three Tiger pitchers and two Cy Young Award winners, but can't beat the Indians at home...and of course, they're in Tampa, the stadium of doom for the Bronx Bombers, over the weekend.

So much comes to mind after last night; initially, like James Gandolfini last year, I thought we had yet another death hoax on our hands...but once CNBC tweeted out the sad news, I knew it was all too real. It's the sad clown: laughing on the outside, crying on the inside, like most of us.

Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney movies simply because Robin Williams was the Genie, who absolutely made that movie morphing into all these famous actors and doing impressions. Jumanji was an after-school staple of mine; I watched it every single day, but was scared as a kid when I got the board game for Christmas. Most of my friends felt the same way; we all thought we'd get sucked into the jungle until someone else rolled a five or an eight.

To this day, I have to catch my breath after laughing so hard whenever he changes between outfits in Mrs. Doubtfire, especially when the sequence is sped up in the restaurant bathroom! And of course, I had to go see about a girl. My friend Alex loves Hook; that wasn't one of my favorites to be honest...one of his finest individual scenes was when he becomes inconsolable after seeing his old Dead Poets Society book in Neil Perry's desk. If one word can sum Oh Captain, My Captain up, it's "icon."

Celebrities always seem to go in bunches, and we learned tonight that Bogie and Bacall are reunited. She was, in my opinion, one of the most stunning actresses in history, not only because of her looks, but also because she was always herself. She was never...plastic, if you will.

Between that classic couple being together again, and my return to my second home, Miami, I leave you with this classic from Bertie Higgins.

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

P.S. If the kids don't know who I'm talking about, think of Daniel Powter, another one-hit wonder, but in 1982.

Will The Real Buck Schowalter Please Shut Up?

We started the day off with a rant on the blog so why not end it with one? Does Buck Showalter HAVE to be a dick or is he just pretending? I mean seriously. First Schowalter gives Derek Jeter a framed picture of the Jeffrey Maier "home run" ball from the 1996 postseason. Cool, funny, creative, 18 years ago but okay fine whatever. Now he has to basically trash Jeter, or maybe that's just how I am taking it because I'm overly sensitive today, saying the flip play wasn't great because Jeter was late getting there.

 How many shortstops are in that position when the ball is overthrown? Your guess is as good as mine but my guess is none on purpose and maybe a couple by chance. How many shortstops have their head in the game enough to cut it off if they are by chance standing there and get it to Jorge Posada in time? Again your guess is as good as mine but I am going with none, by chance or not.

Buck hates the Yankees, how original, but you can't hate or hate on Derek Jeter. Stay classy Buck or shut the hell up. That is all.

America Wants To Know, Who Is Miguel Gonzalez?

8/12 Yankees Game Preview vs. Baltimore Orioles

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles will play in the second game of their three game set at Oriole Park in Camden Yards this week. The Yankees will send Shane Greene to the mound looking to build on his good start last time out and will face off with the Orioles Wei-Yin Chen. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on MY9, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Greene is coming off a start in which he went into the ninth inning against the high powered Detroit Tigers offense. Greene shutout the Tigers through eight plus innings and gave way to David Robertson after giving off a lead off single to start the game. Greene had a great pitching performance to out duel MLB wins leader Rick Porcello.

Gonzalez beat the Toronto Blue Jays last time out throwing six innings and allowing four hits and one run in the victory. Gonzalez struck out four and walked two and only allowed a solo home run for his only blemish. This is not a great sign for the Yankees as they tend to have issues when facing Gonzalez anyway.

Remember to get your Yankees tickets right here on the blog for all home and away games. We offer tickets without fees and shipping costs associated with them, CLICK ME. 

Go Yankees!!

Tonight's Yankees/Orioles Game Postponed Due to Heavy Rain

In what can almost be described as a fortunate break, tonight's Yankees/Orioles game at Camden Yards has been postponed due to heavy rain, ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews reports.

Apparently, the forecast in Baltimore calls for consistent showers this evening, weather that obviously can't be played through.

So, as is customary for MLB, the contest has been delayed until September 12, when it will be made up as part of a double header during the Yanks' last visit to the city this season. 

Remember, tonight's middle game was set to feature a pitching matchup between the usually inconsistent Shane Greene and Wei-Yin Chen, likely meaning this news is good for the currently-struggling Yankees.

No, it doesn't guarantee that Chen won't still throw tomorrow, but according to Matthews it will give a Greene a week off, as New York will stay with their original plan to start Michael Pineda (2-2, 1.83 ERA in 4 starts in April) in this series' finale.

Over the last three days, as you probably already know, the Yankees have somehow never won, scoring just four runs during that time including three in yesterday's blowout loss, one in which they surrendered multiple leads early on.

Excuse Me As I Continue To Beat The Drum For A Youth Movement In New York

"You mean to tell me Mark Teixeira will play an entire month injury free before I get called up?" - Robert Refsnyder

I am feeling very ranty today, yes I know that's not a word and I don't care, because I feel the Yankees could be doing so much better this season. The team heading into last night's game was ranked 24th in team WAR in the league ahead of only the Chicago White Sox (terrible), Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers (terrible), San Diego Padres (terrible), Philadelphia Phillies (terrible), and the Houston Astros (terrible). Brian Cashman did his typical Brian Cashman moves at the trading deadline trading away young talent for aging veterans and the moves are not working. I admit that I was heavily in favor of the Chase Headley and the Martin Prado moves but the team has not improved all that much on the offensive side with these additions.

Stephen Drew is batting .171/.216/.257 as a Yankee but as improved the Yankees defense at second base. Brian Roberts wasn't hitting well at all but he was hitting better than Drew by about 50 points on a bad week. While I admit and agree with letting Roberts go I do not agree with the fact that Cashman absolutely refuses to call up Robert Refsnyder. Refsnyder is your best hitter in your highest minor league affiliate batting .301/.393/.474 and plays, wait for it, second base. You can call for Drew's sample size as a Yankee but I will simply counter with the fact that these numbers are right in line with his stats while in Boston as well and trump your argument so don't bother.

Mark Teixeira will probably be injured again by the time I publish this post but the Yankees refuse to get a true backup first baseman. Brian McCann has filled in well and Chase Headley has surprised me with his play at first base but once again Cashman refuses to call up his second best hitter in Scranton, Kyle Roller. Roller is batting .279/.374/.487 with 14 home runs and plays a more than adequate first base. If Roller had a few more home runs he'd probably be in someone else's Triple-A squad right now like Peter O'Brien, and he'd be better off for it as a player.

The Yankees caught fire for a few months with Yangervis Solarte why not try it again with one of these two? My only hope at this point is that Cashman walks away after this season, by his choice or not, and the younger and more in tune Billy Eppler takes control of this team. It may take a few years but I'd rather miss the playoffs for two straight years and have a future rather than miss the postseason for two years and continue to dump years and cash into 30 something has-beens and salary dumps.

The Cry For Homegrown Talent May Be Ill Advised: 1998

Yesterday we looked at just how much the 1996 Yankees team was constructed through trades and free agency and not so much the farm system and today we look at the next Yankees team to win the World Series, the 1998 team. The Cour Four was in full effect in 1998 with Jorge Posada behind the dish so the homegrown talent got a bit of a shot in the arm, was this team more homegrown then the 1996 season?

Let's look at possibly the greatest Yankees team and greatest team of all time and how they were assembled:

In the infield the Yankees still had Tino Martinez (Mariners) manning first base, Chuck Knoblauch (Twins) at second base, Scott Brosius (Athletics) at third base, and Chili Davis (Angels), Darryl Strawberry (Mets), and Tim Raines (Expos) splitting time at designated hitter. The Yankees did have Derek Jeter at short stop and Jorge Posada behind the dish which will be mainstays in these posts.

In the outfield New York had the warrior Paul O'Neill (Reds) in right field and Chad Curtis (Angels) in left field but had homegrown talent in Bernie Williams in center field. Shane Spencer and Ricky Ledee were on the bench as homegrown Yankees if that counts for anything.

In the starting rotation New York had David Cone (Royals), El Duque Orlando Hernandez (Cuba), Hideki Irabu (Japan), and David Wells (Blue Jays) in the rotation joining Andy Pettitte.

In the bullpen Mike Stanton (Braves and Red Sox) pitched in big spots along with Jeff Nelson (Mariners), Graeme Lloyd (Brewers), and Darren Holmes (Rockies). A lock in the Yankees bullpen has been Mariano Rivera and he came through the Yankees system along with Mike Buddie.

Once again the Yankees win it all, and 114 games, without a ton of home grown talent on the roster. I have a feeling if we did the 1999 World Series team we would see the same thing.... stay tuned.

Hiroki Kuroda Has Hit The Wall... Again

Hiroki Kuroda has hit an invisible wall the last two seasons in August and it looks as though the third time is the charm for the Yankee right hander. Kuroda looks like he is well on his way to hitting another wall in the most important part of the season when the Yankees need him most. With a patch work rotation in New York and Kuroda being the only member of the Spring Training rotation left standing the Yankees cannot stand for Kuroda to be ineffective and still make a postseason spot.

You would think that the Yankees would have monitored his innings closely this season, like I mentioned in a few posts on this blog, to try and prevent yet another breakdown and fade but that was not the case. Heading into August of 2012 Kuroda had thrown 137.1 innings heading into August and in 2013 the righty had thrown 140.1 innings. Heading into August of 2014 Kuroda has thrown 135.1 innings and is on pace for another 200 IP season. Is Joe Girardi, Mr. Binder, Mr. Stats, not paying attention?

Kuroda seemingly hits a wall at 85 pitches or so and tends to labor and struggle until the 100 pitch mark when he is usually taken out of the game. Kuroda has thrown 100 pitches or more eight times this season including four times in July. Kuroda's two starts in July where he did not throw at least 100 pitches he threw 99 and 94 pitches respectively. This is down from 22 times he threw 100 pitches or more in 2012 (including August and September) and 21 times in 2013 but still, the trend is disconcerting.

You could make the case that Kuroda has been unlucky or run into good offenses or use this stat or that stat but the fact remains that when you're tired and your struggling you tend to lose control. Kuroda walked four guys in his last start including his last two batters, one of which with the bases loaded to walk in a run, and you cannot chalk up control and command to anything but an injury or fatigue.

If Girardi doesn't start watching what he's doing with Kuroda now he will be doing the same thing this October as he was last October, nothing.

It's Far Too Early For A Bryan Mitchell Rant, No?

Here it is 7:00 in the morning and I am already ranting, this is going to make for a good day. Yesterday it made me mad but the more I thought about it the more mad I got. Why are the Yankees so against using young talented pitching? Bryan Mitchell finally made his major league debut Sunday afternoon in his third call up with the team and responded by pitching two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. One of those strikeouts came against the Indians best hitter in Michael Brantley. How do the Yankees say "atta boy?" They send him down to Triple-A for a "fresh arm" in Chris Leroux.

Leroux sucks, I can post all these stats and sabermetrics and try and make an argument but I don't need to. Leroux sucks and we all know it, Mitchell doesn't. Mitchell has yet to put it all together but he has better stuff than Shane Greene and maybe even Adam Warren (as a starter) and David Phelps but continues to get passed over.

When are the Yankees going to join the 21st century of roster construction in Major League Baseball and learn that you can build your pitching from within for the most part. Instead of bringing up journeymen who have always sucked and will always suck why not trust in your young guns and let them build confidence because they deserve it, not out of necessity.

Leroux is likely the ax man when Michael Pineda is activated tomorrow anyway but that's no excuse to slap Bryan Mitchell in the face once again. Carry on Yankees family, I'm just pissed.

Yankees Blow 3-1 Lead; Get Blown Out By Orioles in Opener

Chris Capuano surrendered 4 earned runs in 6 innings and Brett Gardner scored on a Derek Jeter groundout following a lead-off triple in the top of the first, but since the Yankees offense died after crossing home three times in the first two frames the suddenly-lifeless New York club dropped tonight's opener to the Orioles, 11-3, in what can only be described as extremely ugly fashion.

Now for most of this evening's contest, ironically, the Yanks did actually compete, taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth thanks largely to a double-steal in the second that eventually allowed both Carlos Beltran and Chase Headley to circle the bases on a pair of throwing errors.

Nonetheless, after Chris Davis drove a two-run home run over the right field wall in the aformentioned fifth New York would never again hold the advantage, an unfortunate happening only made worse by Adam Warren and Chase Whitley's giving up of 7 more in the seventh and eighth.

In other words, for the third straight day tonight the Yankees as a whole looked lousy, something that obviously has to change soon, as the team's recent three game losing streak has amazingly dropped them all the way to three back in the AL wild card standings.

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/12: Babe Ruth's Suitcase

The best Yankees pitcher that gets little to no recognition and respect is Mel Stottlemyre and he made his major league debut way back when on this day in 1964 and got a little help from the Yankees All Star Mickey Mantle. Mantle would hit a home run from both sides of the plate 10 times in his career setting a new major league record. 

Finally on this day in 1927 the Yankees acquired infielders Lyn Lary and Jimmie Reese from the PCL's Oakland Oaks for $125,000. Reese will immediately becomes Babe Ruth's roommate and be best known for his quote that he was "roomed with Ruth's suitcase."