Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pineda Great Again, But Bullpen Can't Back Him Up in Another Tough Loss to Astros

Michael Pineda gave up just 2 earned runs in 6+ innings and Stephen Drew hit his first home run with the team, but since the unreliable bullpen duo of David Huff and Esmil Rogers forgot how to pitch in the top of the seventh the Yankees lost to the very-beatable Astros tonight, 5-2, in another unbearable game in the Bronx.

For most of this one, as is usual, the Yanks competed comfortably, holding a 2-1 lead after six frames thanks to that home run by Drew and a bunt RBI Single from Jacoby Ellsbury. 

Nonetheless, once Pineda walked the lead-off hitter in Houston's half of the seventh the sky fell for the second day in a row, with Huff coming on and allowing a hit to bring in Rogers, who'd surrender four more before getting an out to make it 5-2 and eventually give Scott Feldman (6 2/3 IP, 2 ER) the W.

In other words, for some odd reason the Yanks' bullpen remained infective this evening, a happening that, while frustrating, is still mainly the offense's fault.

No, I don't expect the bats to score five times every contest, but I do think three is a reasonable number, one that this club doesn't seem to know how to reach whenever their starter throws well.

8/20 Yankees Open Game Thread vs. Houston Astros

Welcome to tonight’s open thread for the game between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros as the two teams start a three game set this week at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound and will face off with the Astros Scott Feldman. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

The Yankees are home all week so be sure to grab a pair ofYankees tickets for this week or weekend and see the home team and Derek Jeterlive. Also please follow @GreedyStripes on Twitter and Like our page on Facebook by searching for The Greedy Pinstripes.

It’s an open thread so feel free to hit up the comments section of the site and chat with other Yankees fans across the country. Enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your evening. Go Yankees!

Teixeira Staying Positive After Losing Opener to Houston

When a playoff-hungry team like the Yankees loses a seemingly-easy game like yesterday's to the Astros, it's not exactly difficult to lose a good amount of hope.

The 63-60 team, as we all know, has been inconsistent at home for the entirety of this season's first four and a half months, a trend that's expected be put on hold this week since Houston and Chicago are coming to town.

Still, up to this point it obviously hasn't, an unfortunate happening that apparently doesn't matter to team First Basemen Mark Teixeira, with the veteran surprisingly expressing confidence after the frustrating defeat.

"Two days ago we were talking about a two-game win streak and going on a run," Teixiera told The Star Ledger's Matthew Stanmyre. "We're not going to let one game get us down too much. I'm pretty sure we're still in the race. We just need to score more runs and win more games."

With last night's 7-4 failure, interestingly, the Yanks fell to 4 games out in the AL Wild Card standings, a number that's probably too high for comfort.

Nonetheless, since the Phillies beat the Mariners earlier today and the Tigers have to play the always-tough Rays this evening Teixeira's second-to-last sentence definitely appears to be true, as hard as that may be to believe.

Nick's Picks 2.0: Astros VS Yankees 8/20/14

Well last night was frustrating, simply frustrating. Picks were looking good up until the end. I mean, could anyone have predicted Mr. Golden Sombrero hitting a three-run shot to win it? That was a poor excuse of a game and pretty much sums up this season and this team. Close but no cigar. I toggled with skipping this post just because my emergence brought back another loss, so sue me. Looking at the game tonight I had no choice but to write, that is what writers are born to do, right? I only wish that the next couple games are just like the ones finishing up the Rays series, and hopefully we gain back some of the ground we lost in the playoff races.

Tonight we look to Michael Pineda to get things rolling, and lord knows we need it. I hope someone in the lineup remembers to hit tonight, and the bullpen remembers that the season is not over yet. I feel so much anger and sadness for this team. All I want is a string of victories, and a strong push to make it more enjoyable than this roller coaster ride we are forced on. The Astros will counter with shaky right-hander Scott Feldman who with out luck will probably throw a no hitter tonight. Not a pick people! (If it happens though you heard it here first, unfortunately).

Pitching performance to watch: Well the bullpen is out. I think it will be a long while before I go back to them, at least as a whole. Watch for Pineda to deal some crazy numbers out tonight. I see him pitching longer into the game, and maybe shutting down the Astros through 6 2/3 innings with oh, nine strikeouts. Pineda is going to put on a dazzling display with his pitches, let's just hope we hit.

Break-out hitter: I have one word for that. Ichiro! The old man might have lost a step or four, but tonight he is going to provide some much needed offense from the least likeliest of sources. Ichiro is going to go 2-3 tonight with a walk, a single, and a big blast. Yes, Ichiro will make some lucky contact and bring in three RBI's on the night.

Simply Clutch: Stephen Drew, oh how I would love for you to figure out how to play again. With a start at shortstop tonight, Drew is going to make some very nifty plays on the field and also help with the bat tonight. Watch and see him get on base and score a few runs if not drive in one. Drew, tonight is your night to shine.

Yankee Universe can I get an Amen? Amen! Okay, I'll do it on your behalf, but seriously we need some sort of miracle/prayer to aide us through the rest of this season. At least nothing I have tried is doing the trick. Tonight I predict a nice win of 5-0. A simple shutout after a horrendous loss. Let's go Yankees! Remember YCPB!

8/20 Yankees Game Preview vs. Houston Astros

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros continue their three game set tonight at Yankee Stadium in the middle game of a three game set at Yankee Stadium. Tonight the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to face off with the Astros Scott Feldman. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Pineda is making his second start this month after spending months on the disabled list with a teres major strain in his shoulder. Pineda pitched well last time out against the Baltimore Orioles but the Yankees lost the game after a bullpen meltdown. Pineda is likely to throw 90 pitches or so tonight but may be pushed to 100 if necessary.

Feldman has allowed five earned runs in his last three starts before his last start in Boston this season. Boston roughed up Feldman for seven runs and nine hits on Thursday. The Astros are 8-14  in his 22 starts this season so hopefully the Yankees make it 8-15. 

Go Yankees!!

Masahiro Tanaka Feels Good, Carlos Beltan Feels Bad

Some day the Yankees will get some good news without bad news coming with it.

About the same time we learned that Masahiro Tanaka came through his 35-pitch session without any problems, we also learned that Carlos Beltran was scratched from tonight's lineup after feeling a twinge in his elbow after a swing last night.

It's looking more and more like that 3 year/$45 million contract the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran to is going to be a problem. I wouldn't be surprised to see them pull an Alfonso Soriano and let him receive a paycheck for nothing.

If Brian Cashman Isn’t Already Calling the Texas Rangers He Should Be

If Brian Cashman hasn’t already made the phone call to the Texas Rangers about a potential trade then maybe he should be because his job is likely depending on it. The Rangers recently announced that ace starting pitcher Yu Darvish, third baseman Adrian Beltre, shortstop Elvis Andrus, and Shin-Soo Choo all cleared waivers and can be traded to any team for the rest of the season. Also by the end of the week Neal Cotts is likely to have cleared as well which begs the question, does Brian Cashman have one more blockbuster in him that may potentially save his job?

The biggest obstacle in any potential trade is that the Rangers think they can and plan to contend in 2015 with ¾ of the team back healthy next season. The Rangers are unlikely to want to unload any of the aforementioned players except for maybe Cotts. Cotts would be a nice rental for New York but would not be enough to push the team over the edge. Beltre would be a nice addition and is definitely a bat you make room for but would not be as high on the priority list in my book as a Choo or an Andrus would be. Choo would bring a ton of on base percentage to the team and give Joe Girardi three options to play center field at any given day. The Yankees may have the best outfield defense in all of baseball with the addition of Choo. Andrus could easily be the shortstop of the future replacing Derek Jeter next season and replacing Stephen Drew at second base for this season.

It is probably a pipe dream for any of these players to come to New York but the rotation would be scary good again with a healthy Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka, and Yu Darvish to join Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy, and Shane Greene. The infield defense would shine with the addition of Andrus and the offense may finally get the jolt it needs with any of Choo or Beltre. It’s unlikely but Cashman better be on the phones now because once again, his job more than likely depends on it. 

Yankees “Out” On Castillo Doesn’t Make Sense

Yesterday my friend Bryan Van Dusen posted the article that the New York Yankees were “out” on Cuban defecting outfielder Rusney Castillo. In the article it was stated that the Yankees weren’t crazy about his reported $10 million asking price and were prepared to move on from the Castillo sweepstakes. This makes absolutely no sense to me, none at all, does someone care to explain the logical thinking right here?

The Yankees have a long term need at shortstop, second base, and right field after this season and Castillo could fill at least two of those as early as 2015. Sure the Yankees have prospects like Robert Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Tyler Austin, etc. in the minor leagues that could potentially fill in but just like Castillo none of those players are locks or guarantees. It’s not like the Yankees would shy away from simply stashing a struggling player and bad contract in Triple-A, see Kei Igawa, or designating that player for assignment, see Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano.

This team is being built on versatility in the hopes of giving manager Joe Girardi as many options in the field and in the lineup as possible. Castillo played center field in Cuba so obviously his range, speed, and arm strength is all there and could translate into the majors. Castillo could basically play all over the field much in the way that Martin Prado does now for a comparable salary (at a few years older than Castillo’s 27 years). Giving Girardi three options in is every day outfield that can play center field can help keep his players fresh and healthy all season long.

Austin is in Double-A so he would at least need part of the 2015 season to fine tune his play in Scranton making the right field position open for the time being. You hand that position to Castillo now and you worry about making the spot when you have to. New York will still have an old(er) team in 2015 and the need for days off, DH days for players like Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran, and injuries will occur. I would rather be prepared than caught flat footed again, especially for the same cost for an everyday player as we more than willingly paid a player that pitched once every five days (Carl Pavano) the two times he was healthy in four seasons.

I cannot say I am entirely mad over this, this isn’t one of the “can’t miss” type signings and I get that but you’re also not paying him like he is one either. You get what you pay for, you’ll see when someone else is paying Rusney Castillo for the foreseeable future. Castillo will be the next one in a long list of the ones that got away in my opinion. Hey, I was wrong once. 

Spending A Lot, But Not Getting A Lot

While I've moved away from constantly talking about the Yankees' payroll, as that used to be the basis for the majority of what I wrote around here, I'm still fascinated by the Dollar value that Fangraphs gives players. 

Here's a little foreshadowing for you.

Now, we all know that the Yankees haven't lived up to their payroll, but I couldn't help myself from seeing just how much they've come under that number. And that's where the Dollar value from Fangraphs came into player. So here are the Opening Day lineup and starting rotation, along with the player's actual salary (not the Average Annual Value of their contracts), and how much they've earned so far this season...

C - Brian McCann $17 million/$7 million
1B - Mark Teixeira $22.5 million/$6.6 million
2B - Brian Roberts $2 million$/.3 million
3B - Kelly Johnson $3 million/$3.4 million
SS - Derek Jeter $8 million/$.5 million
LF - Brett Gardner $5.6 million/$18.8 million
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury ~$21.1 million/~$14.5 million
RF - Carlos Beltran $15 million/$-2.2  million
DH - Alfonso Soriano $18 million/$-6.3 million

CC Sabathia $23 million/$.9 million
Hiroki Kuroda $16 million/$12.3 million
Masahiro Tanaka $22 million/$16.9 million
Ivan Nova $3.3 million/$-2.1 million
Michael Pineda $.538475 million/$4.6 million

Here are the players that have cost the team money so far this year, and just how much...

Alfonso Soriano - $24.3 million
CC Sabathia - $22.1 million
Carlos Beltran - $17.2 million
Mark Teixeira - $15.9 million
Brian McCann - $10 million
Derek Jeter - $7.5 million
Jacoby Ellsbury - ~$6.6 million
Ivan Nova - $5.4 million
Masahiro Tanaka - $5.1 million
Hiroki Kuroda - $3.7 million
Brian Roberts - $1.7 million

And here we have the only three players that have actually earned more money on the field than is shown on their paychecks...

Kelly Johnson - $4 million
Michael Pineda - ~$4.6 million
Brett Gardner - $13.2 million

Now, to be fair, here are a couple of notes...
  • The only players that I can see earning enough money on the field to make their contracts pay off for the Yankees are Jacoby Ellsbury, Hiroki Kuroda, and Masahiro Tanaka. However, I wouldn't bet on Tanaka as I don't see the team bringing him back early enough to get it done. If they were in the playoff hunt then I might say otherwise, but as things stand now (both in the standings and seeing what the team is doing on the field) I wouldn't count on it.
  • Yes, the Yankees were only on the hook for $5 million of Soriano's $18 million salary for 2014. However, even if you look at it that way, Soriano still cost the team $11.3 million this season.
  • Did anybody actually believe that Kelly Johnson earned his money? Wow.
Let's hope that the Yankees do a better job of constructing a lineup before the 2015 season than they did before. And at the same time, let's hope that Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira play better. Oh, not to mention Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and CC Sabathia (again) staying healthy.

Boy... that's a lot of hope. 

Meet A Prospect: Joe Girardi

Joseph Elliot Girardi, or more commonly known as Joe Girardi, was born on October 14th, 1964 in Peoria, Illinois. Joe stayed close to home, attending East Peoria Neil Armstrong grade school and Sacred Heart where he was coached in basketball by his father. He later attended the Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute, which is now merged into Peoria Notre Dame High School, where he played quarterback for the football team and catcher  for the baseball team. He went on to play baseball at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned a bachelors degree in industrial engineering of a bullpen. In college he was elected the president of the fraternity Alpha Tau Omega at Northwestern, the first freshman to ever be donned with the honor. 

Joe Girardi began his career being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the MLB First Year Player Draft in the 5th round in 1986. After a couple years in the Cubs minor league system Girardi played for the Aguilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League where he gained a lot of MLB experience, experience that would end up starting that very season in 1989 where he started the season with the Cubs big league club. Joe stayed with the Cubs big league club as their catcher through the 1992 season. 

At the beginning of the 1993 season the Colorado Rockies, and expansion team, drafted Joe Girardi to be their first ever catcher. Joe Girardi would stay with the Rockies through the 1994 season but was traded eventually to the New York Yankees in 1995 for pitcher Mike DeJean, an obvious win for the Yankees team. 

1995 began Joe Girardi's career as a New York Yankee, and what a career it quickly became. Girardi was the Yankees regular catcher in 1995 and through the 1999 season, earning three World Series rings along the way in 1996, 1998, and 1999. Girardi also caught Dwight Gooden's no hitter in 1996 and David Cone's perfect game in 1999. Girardi did all this while still mentoring Yankees young catching converted prospect Jorge Posada. Girardi and Posada split time together through the 1999 season.  Girardi eventually went back to the Cubs, making his first ever All Star appearance, and spent some time with the Cardinals before retiring as a player but his best and most successful years were always as a Yankee.

After dabbling in broadcasting and turning down the Marlins offer to be their bench coach Joe accepted a spot as the bench coach for Joe Torre's New York Yankees after retiring in 2004. He even managed a game in 2005 during a Joe Torre suspension against the Kansas City Royals, a game that the Yankees lost. 2005 would be Girardi's last season as a Yankees bench coach as he joined the broadcasting world again in 2006, working games 3-5 of the World Series on Fox as a part of the pre and post game team. Joe Girardi joined the Yankees YES Network in 2007, after turning down managerial offers, for 60+ games and served as a color commentator for Major League Baseball on Fox.

In the 2006 season Joe Girardi accepted an offer to manage the Florida Marlins, replacing Jack McKeon. His first notable action was to ban all facial hair, similar to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.  With a $14 million dollar payroll, a salary lower then 7 Yankees players, Girardi guided the team to a 78-84 record and a wild card contending team all season long.  After a public altercation with owner Jeffrey Loria, who almost fired him that night before being talked out of it, Girardi's days were numbered. Girardi was fired on October 3rd, 2006 despite him winning manager of the year. He also won the Sporting News Manager of the Year Award for the National League that season.

Joe Girardi, replacing long time Yankees manager Joe Torre, beat out Don Mattingly and Tony Pena to become the new manager of the New York Yankees in 2008. He signed a three year deal worth $7.5 million bucks.  Joe Girardi immediately chose to wear number 27 to show his goal for the 2008 season, a 27th World Series Championship. He did not start out well because Girardi's Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1993 season. This was especially heartbreaking because it was the last season in the old Yankees Stadium. 

After a SEVERELY long offseason of nothing but "Fire Joe Girardi" threads on forums and rants and raves about how much of a better job Don Mattingly, with no experience, would have done the Yankees returned to the field in 2009. This time, to help Girardi, the Yankees added CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Mark Texeira, and Nick Swisher to name a few. The Yankees were quick out of the gate and by the time the Yanks clinched their 40th AL Pennant, having the best record in basball, the Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in six games to win their 27th World Championship. This was his first World Series title as a manager and the Yankees first title win since 2000, a long 9 years. After that season he changed his number to number 28 because the Yankees had/have a new goal... a 28th championship.

Joe Girardi is married to his wife Kimberly Girardi, seen in our WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS section, and has three children while living in Purchase, New York.  Girardi is the son of Jerry and Angela Girardi, both from Illinois originally and of Italian descent. Joe Girardi considers himself a devout Christian, something that he also gets from his parent.  Girardi is known as a health nut and, since taking over the Yankees, has banned sweets from the clubhouse. No ice cream, no soda, and no Captain Crunch for CC Sabathia in Joe Girardi's clubhouse!

After the 2009 World Series clinching game Joe Girardi was driving home and stopped to help a crash victim who had run their car into a wall on a dangerous part of the highway. The woman that he tried to help save stated that she did not even know who he was until the officers pointed it out, how cool (for lack of a better word) would that be?

Joe Girardi's led New York Yankees team missed the playoffs for the second time in his six seasons in 2013 but Joe was rewarded with a four year contract worth $16,000,000. If Joe finishes this contract he would be at the held for 10 years as a Yankees manager and would have guided us through the biggest transition in recent memory. Girardi may be a lot of things but a good person and a great manager are at the top of that list. 

2015 Yankees Fact or Fiction: Free Agency

I thought we would have a little fun this morning and play a little fact or fiction regarding the 2015 Yankees and free agency. In this post we will focus on the players currently wearing pinstripes and discuss whether they will be returning for the 2015 season on a new contract. This is all for fun and obviously a lot can happen between now and then so let’s please remember this post was made in a bubble and a perfect world on paper. Enjoy.

Chase Headley – Fact
This seems like the only no-brainer to me. Sure Alex Rodriguez will be back in spirit in 2015 but how many really expect him to contribute and be able to play third base every day? Alex is entering his age 40 season and will have spent basically two seasons on the shelf with injuries and suspensions. That’s not exactly a great recipe for success but the worst part about it is he still may be the best right handed batter in the organization right now.

Brandon McCarthy – Fiction

If this was Fact, Fiction, or Push I would have definitely pushed because I am not 100% sold either way. Part of me, the greedy part, expects the Yankees to be in on Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and/or James Shields this offseason. The other part of me expects New York to be fiscally responsible, if there is such a thing with a $200 million payroll, once again and scrape the bottom of the barrel. If New York were to find some more cash and go after high priced pitching then McCarthy will not wear pinstripes in 2015, if they don’t then I can see him coming back. It is also worth mentioning that McCarthy was very vocal about Alex Rodriguez last season with his steroid allegations and didn’t exactly express a willingness to be his teammate.

Stephen Drew – Fiction

I think Drew needs to go away and go away now. Drew has been a defensive upgrade over Brian Roberts but has somehow managed to downgrade the team offensively. While Drew may be the best option at shortstop to replace Derek Jeter currently on the roster I can see the Yankees doing what the Yankees do and go after the veteran JJ Hardy from Baltimore who is also a free agent at season’s end.

Ichiro Suzuki – Fiction

The Yankees signed Ichiro hoping he could keep up his 200 hit per season production and approach the 3,000 hit milestone in the major leagues with the Yankees. That obviously did not happen and with Ichiro a little under 200 hits away I cannot see New York taking a chance once again on a man on the wrong side of 40 years old. The Ichiro era was fun but it’s time to clear the way for Tyler Austin, Jose Pirela, Robert Refsnyder, Zoilo Almonte, or whoever else may come through the system.

Chris Capuano – Fiction

Lord, please no. We got the best we could have hoped for out of Capuano now he can leave. There is no such thing as a bad minor league deal but there is such a thing as holding onto a player too long. Please send Capuano back to Boston. That is all.

Yankees Waste Big Hits from McCann and Prado in Opener Loss to Astros

Brian McCann made it 2-0 with an early two-run home run and Martin Prado tied the score in the sixth with a big two-run double, but since Chris Capuano only lasted 5 1/3 innings and David Robertson had one of his rare bad outings in the ninth the Yankees fell to the Astros, 7-4, Tuesday night in the Bronx.

Now for the first five frames in his start yesterday, interestingly, Capuano actually looked pretty good, allowing just one trip around the bases to keep that homer by McCann meaningful. 

Nonetheless, in the top of the sixth the veteran randomly collapsed, surrendering three more on three hits to cost New York their lead.

Yes, in the bottom of that at-bat Prado would even things up with the aforementioned double off Brett Oberholtzer (5 1/3 IP, 4 ER), but due to David Robertson's collapse in which two men reached and Chris Carter homered on a 3-0 pitch those struggles of Capuano definitely had a huge effect on how this one played out, as they forced a worn out bullpen to pick up the slack again.

No, this loss doesn't completely fall on Capuano, but still, he undeniably had a big part in it, the second time that's happened in the last 8 days.

Quick Hit: Luis Severino Returns From DL

Prior to Tuesday's ballgame against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Trenton Thunder, Double-A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, have five roster moves to announce.

The Thunder activated RHP Luis Severino from the disabled list, received C/1B Francisco Arcia from the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and placed C Gary Sanchez on the Temporary Inactive List. Severino, who was placed on the disabled list on August 9th, is expected to make his fourth start with the Thunderon Tuesday night against New Hampshire. Arcia returns for his third stint with the Thunder this season, he's hitting .270 with nine doubles, one home run and 23 RBI in 58 games between the Railriders and Thunder.

Catcher Gary Sanchez, who leads the Thunder with 61 RBI and ranks second on the team with 108 hits, was placed on the Temporary Inactive List (Paternity).

On Monday, the Thunder placed RHP Jairo Heredia on the Disabled List and received LHP Jeremy Bleich from Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Bleich began the season with the Thunder and went 4-5 with a 3.51 ERA in 12 starts before his call-up to the RailRiders. The left-hander appeared 11 times (five starts) with Scranton and went 0-4 and posted a 6.68 ERA. He is scheduled to start Friday night in Harrisburg.

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/20: Yankees Present Whitey Ford Day

The Yankees are honoring many of their greats of the past this season which has become quite the tradition for the New York Yankees. On this day in 2000 it was Whitey Ford Day at Yankee Stadium. At the time of the ceremony Ford led the Yankees all time in wins with 236, innings pitched with 3,170.1 innings, strikeouts with 1,956 K's, and shutouts with 45.

Finally on this day in 1938 Lou Gehrig would hit the 23rd and final grand slam of his career in an 11-3 rout of the Philadelphia A's. Gehrig would connect in the first inning with the bases loaded against the A's Buck Ross to extend his major league record for career grand slams.