Thursday, September 11, 2014

Young's Ninth Inning Homer Lifts Yankees to Thrilling Win Over Rays

Alex Cobb surrendered just a hit and an earned run in 7 1/3 innings and Michael Pineda gave up four times that in as many frames, but thanks to a late rally headed by Martin Prado and Chris Young the Yankees found a way to win tonight's rubber game over the Rays, 5-4, in what can only be described as amazing fashion.

Now as you can see by Cobb's final stats, the inconsistent Yanks' bats struggled for a good majority of this one, trailing 4-0 going into the last two innings due to a pair of home runs by Tampa Bay's Yunel Escobar.

Still, once Young doubled off Cobb with one out in the eighth frame (the Yankees' first hit of the game) to knock the right-hander out and Prado followed him with a two-run shot off Brad Boxberger the excitement began to go the home team's way, with New York's offense suddenly catching fire in their half of the ninth.

And yes, it was cool. 

After Rays' reliever Jake McGee hit Chase Headley in the mouth to start that at-bat, Ichiro laced a clutch double into the left-center field gap, moving pinch runner Austin Romine to third for Zelous Wheeler. 

No, Wheeler didn't get on base, but since his strikeout did still keep him out of a triple play the red-hot Young got another chance to hit, taking advantage of it by lining a fastball into the left-field stands.

In other words, in a thirty-minute span this evening things went from the-Yankees-are-going-to-get-no-hit to playoffs?, a strange happening I'm sure they'll happily take. 

Helicopter Ride

If you asked me, no I don't remember that Tuesday. I don't remember any news coverage, I don't remember my friends being pulled out of school, I don't remember even hearing the fighter planes flying over my house that night.

I do remember Mom and Dad telling me the next day I had no school, and then I heard why. "Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center."

An 8-year-old doesn't know anything about terrorism or the Middle East. Al-Qaeda looks like a misspelling. So without any connection to or knowledge of international warfare, the 8-year-old simply says back, "Aww geez, we won't be able to visit the Twin Towers anymore," and then goes back to sleep. Years later my mom said my dad was totally aghast at that answer; maybe he felt I was insensitive to the issue. I didn't know that so many families were broken apart that day. I didn't know that the country would never operate the same way again. To that 8-year-old though, those two towers represented a moment that would stick with him forever.

The first time we went down there I was five (I only know because of the date on the picture.) I went with my dad, aunt and cousin. It was the second time I went that stuck with me though.

Saturdays were father-son days; my mom worked in the morning. Dad would always make pancakes for us, and sometimes eggs for himself which disgusted me; I thought they smelled like feet. One particular Saturday my dad lumbered out of bed and was checking his email when I said, "Can we go to the World Trade Center?" Without hesitation he looked up the train schedule, we got dressed and left.

I remember the traveling experience so well, getting on the train to Hoboken, getting on the PATH to the WTC station underground, going up this gigantic escalator and before I knew it, we were in the lobby. Next came a LONG elevator ride, 107 stories up to be exact, and I remember wondering what good stuff I was missing for 90-odd floors before that. The door opened and we're in this big open space full of fun stuff--gift shops, a photo booth, and the restaurant. First though, we took another escalator up to the roof. The idea that we were 110 floors up was mind-boggling to me; my aunt lived in an apartment 11 or 12 floors above the ground--I think that was the tallest spot that I had walked on before that.

I honestly wasn't scared about being up that high--maybe it was because my dad was there, maybe it's because a kid can't comprehend how high up that is, better yet maybe I just felt like king of the world. The cliche is that everyone looks like ants from up there...from up there ants would be bigger.

I do have one physical memory from that day in my room. The photo booth there took your picture and inserted it into a $100 bill, so now my dad and I were Ben Franklin for a day.

The final act was the helicopter ride, which I wanted to go on so badly, even though my dad was saying we were pressed for time. Being a good dad, we went anyway; basically you sit in a theater and the screen moves, and maybe the floor moved, I don't remember. It made it seem like we're going around Manhattan in a chopper.

However, because we went on that, now my dad and I had to rush down the elevator, get into the PATH, get back to Hoboken and run for the train. As I do to this day though, I panicked that we wouldn't make it and while running, I started crying, feeling so bad that because I begged to go on that helicopter ride, we would probably miss the train (of course there were other trains home.) My dad came over to console me; and of course because of THAT delay, we indeed missed the train, and my mom had to pick us up elsewhere.

13 years later, I have to thank my dad over and over again because reflecting on it as an adult, there's no way my dad really felt like going to the city on his day off; he did it for his kid. Because of that, I now can still go back to that day. While writing this, I looked on Wikipedia to make sure I got a reference right, and I passed by a picture of the lobby. You know how sometimes you think you remember a place, and then you Google it, and it's nothing like your memory. As God as my witness, the image in my head matched the Wikipedia image so perfectly I started to cry. The big flags on the window, the marble walls and the escalator down to the PATH in the middle.

Over time, I was able to put faces to a terrible tragedy. I understood what that Tuesday did to this country and the world. It's probably best that I didn't see those buildings crumble in fire and ash; it probably helped me preserve that memory of a time where America was totally safe from world crises, where you could go right up to the airport gate and see your family off without a ticket, and when a kid got the greatest view in the world...of the greatest city in the world.

"I thank god for my life, and for the stars and stripes, may freedom forever fly, let it ring.
Salute the ones who died, The ones that give their lives, So we don't have to sacrifice...
All the things we love."

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

9/11 Game Thread vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Welcome to tonight’s open thread for the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees will play tonight before heading out on the road to take on the Baltimore Orioles in four games in three days through the weekend. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to face off with the Rays Alex Cobb. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

Get your Yankees tickets right here on the blog for the remainder of the 2014 season. Also give us a follow on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and like our page on Facebook by searching for The Greedy Pinstripes.

It’s an open thread so crazy and talk about whatever you want. Enjoy the game Yankees family, Go Yankees!

Young Urging Teammates to Not Get Too Ahead of Themselves

After coming back from a seemingly-huge four-run defecit to beat the Rays last night, it'd be understandable for the Yankees to be happy today.

For the first time all year, as you've probably already heard, they emerged victorious in a contest they trailed by more than three in, an occurance that you can't help but smile about.

Still, it was just one game. Yes, it was fun and all, but since that last sentence remains true they do have to move on, something new OF Chris Young pointed out after the W.

“(Wins like this) happen,” Young said. “You see it with all types of teams. … You know that if you continue to follow the cliché and just worry about the day that you have at hand — you don’t try to think about the hot streak. Let’s get hot, fellas, and win seven in a row. If you think like that, you think too far ahead."

Young then summed up his statement, although the message he was trying to convey had already been clarified.

"You have to literally focus on that day you have and enjoy the wins and get ready for the next one.”

Unfortunately for New York, though, that next one will be played tonight against Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay's ace whom they usually struggle against. 

No, that doesn't mean a loss this evening is likely, but considering that Cobb is one of those guys who shuts them down consistently it'd be illogical to not at least have some doubts, as this season's Yanks do often follow big wins with defeats.

(Quotes via The Journal News)

9/11 Game Preview vs. Tampa Bay Rays

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays will finish off their three game set tonight at Yankee Stadium before the Yankees travel to Baltimore starting tomorrow night. The Yankees playoff hopes have diminished to basically nothing so the team is merely going through the motions at this point. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound tonight, so expect no offense, to face off with the Rays Alex Cobb. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Pineda has been the tough luck loser in two straight starters due to the Yankees lack of offense. Pineda pitched well last time out against James Shields and the Kansas City Royals but the team got shut out. Pineda made one mistake in the game and it ended up costing him a victory much like last time out against the Toronto Blue Jays where he made one mistake to Jose Bautista and the Yankees offense disappeared again for another loss. Maybe the Yankees can score Pineda a run or six tonight in the finale in Yankee Stadium.

Cobb is coming off a strong start against the Baltimore Orioles where he threw seven shutout innings at home. This was Cobb's 11th straight start allowing two or less runs, a club record. Cobb faced the Yankees back on August 15 where he pitched 7.1 innings and did not allow a run in that contest.

Go Yankees!

Fire Kevin Long

Earlier in the day I was feeling a little “rant-ish” when I asked for the job of Rob Thompson and I’m not done, I want to reiterate my wishes for Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. Long has been donned the “Hitting Guru” by some, and when I say some I mean himself,  and has far from lived up to the name and the hype in recent seasons. Long has always been given the credit for “fixing” players swings, i.e. Curtis Granderson who went from an average home run hitter to a 40 home run hitter with absolutely no help from Yankee Stadium (hint, there may be some sarcasm there), but never seems to get the blame when a player is struggling.

Long was praised for “fixing” Brian McCann’s swing and eliminating a toe tap which raised the Yankees catcher’s average all the way up to .240, happy dance. Long has not received any flack for Carlos Beltran hitting well below his career norms and his instead hidden behind an old bone spur causing all the problems. No word is ever mentioned about how Mark Teixeira was a perennial .300 or right at it type hitter all the way through 2009 and miraculously has seen his average drop every single season since. We won’t even mention how Long tried to alter the swing of Derek Jeter and almost cost him his career after a down season at the plate. Jeter ditched the new mechanics and went back to doing things his own way and amazingly led the league in hitting the next year. Coincidence?

The Yankees love to take care of their own and bring back one of their own and they have a few options to replace Long with that are only a phone call away. Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez were both honored this season at Yankee Stadium and would both be welcomed back with open arms to the club. Tino’s class and charisma or O’Neill’s fire and will for perfection would both be welcomed additions to the Yankee coaching staff and would garner immediate respect from the players they would be coaching.

The time has come to make a move as it’s never been more painstakingly obvious and it’s time for the organization to move on from Kevin Long. His “throw crap at the wall and see what sticks” approach and mentality that he has all but admitted to using this season does not sit well with me and should not sit well with Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees organization. Fire Kevin Long and bring back Tino or the Warrior. 

Shutting Down Beltran, Gardner, and Prado

The New York Yankees are finishing up their 2014 season and barring a miracle will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Yankees have lost quite a few members of their team to injuries this season and have a few members of the walking wounded as well as the team fights through September. Should the Yankees simply shut down Martin Prado, Carlos Beltran, and Brett Gardner for the rest of the season and star getting ready for 2015?

Prado has been battling a hamstring injury for more than a week now that obviously has manager Joe Girardi concerned. Prado played in the finale of the Kansas City Royals series and had three hits and ran the bases multiple times but you could tell he was protecting and nursing the injury the entire game. Now Prado is back to sitting on the bench in fear of making the problem worse and causing a more severe injury. With the Yankees seemingly out of the playoff race wouldn't it make more sense to shut him down to let the injury fully heal? I would think so as New York has Prado under team control for two more seasons after this one.

Gardner has an abdominal strain that has kept him out of games for almost a week as well and this isn't the first time this injury has flared up this season. Right before the All Star Break Gardner missed one game with the injury before taking the All Star break off to rest it. When an injury continues to flare up and re-occur that usually points to something more severe. It would be in the best interest of the Yankees and for Gardner to shut him down and make sure the injury is 100% healed before this becomes an all the time kind of injury. Gardner is under team control for quite some time in New York and they need his abdominal muscles to be at their best for his swing and his ability to run the bases.

I wrote yesterday that Beltran should be shut down simply because he is hurting the team and I want to reiterate that today. Beltran is going to be 38 years old and the more time he has to rest and rehab an elbow surgery, however minor, the better for both him and the club. Beltran stand to earn nothing in these final two weeks and the Yankees stand to earn nothing as well from Beltran playing in these final two weeks. Shut him down, get the operation and get that elbow cleaned up, and let’s work on coming back stronger and healthy in 2015.

Rest these veterans and get them back healthy for Spring Training 2015 while getting a small glimpse into the future at the same time. 60 day DL trips for these three can potentially open up three 40 man active roster spots for the likes of Robert Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Zoilo Almonte, and others. The latter two are minor league free agents at the end of the season anyway so you would not be giving them a long term roster spot and Refsnyder deserves one anyway. I don’t believe the Yankees have the balls to pull off these moves, but they should. 

Fire Rob Thomson

The New York Yankees are unlikely to clean house this offseason with manager Joe Girardi still under contract and General Manager Brian Cashman likely to be tendered another contract but the Yankees can improve the team going forward by firing third base coach Rob Thomson. I haven’t seen any sort of stat and don’t really know if there is one to begin with (if there is please leave us a line in the comments section because I would love to check it out) but Thomson has to be one of the worst third base coaches in the history of the sport.

How many times have we seen Thomson send a player only for him to end up meat at home plate? How many times have we seen Thomson hold a runner that could have fallen down, stopped to take a drink of water, and wink at a fan and still go into home standing up without a throw? Too many times on both accounts. Surely this cannot be the best the Yankees can muster up, can they? New York has great coaches in bench coach Tony Pena and Larry Rothschild, as much as I disagree with Rothschild’s approaches the stats don’t lie, but Thomson has somehow become a liability to the team.

Watching the game Tuesday night, I like to gather my thoughts for a day or two before I write so I have the ability to leave out the “F” word and keep this blog safe for work and children, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The Yankees had Chris Archer on the ropes and had battled all the way back to within one run when Thomson sent Stephen Drew home on a Jacoby Ellsbury single. First of all the Rays left fielder Matt Joyce had the baseball in his glove before Drew reached third base, which should have been your first sign to hold. Secondly Drew is not known to be a speed demon, he has average speed at best, so when in doubt with nobody out you have to hold him. The next batter was Derek Jeter who lined into an inning ending and rally killing double play to end the inning and any shots of the Yankees winning that game. A coach is not supposed to determine the outcome of the game but Thomson has more times than not.

I am in no way putting the struggles of the New York Yankees all on Thomson’s shoulders, this is a highly paid veteran team with extreme talent that they just are not harnessing. I am saying that the Yankees have had better third base coaches and could get a better third base coach with relative ease so why haven’t they? The Yankees offense has struggled to score runs so I understand that sometimes you have to be aggressive and hope for the best but there is a fine line between being aggressive and being dumb and the little I could stomach to watch of the Rays game on Tuesday all I saw was stupidity. 

TGP Daily Poll: Michael Pineda Has a Healthy 2015 Season

I am going to go out on a limb and say that Michael Pineda will finally have a healthy season in 2015 for the New York Yankees. A healthy season, to me, is no more than one 15 day DL stint. Over the course of a season anything can happen, take a come backer, blisters, etc. so I’ll give him one. Agree or disagree?

Vote in our poll.

This Day In New York Yankees History: September 11th

Derek Jeter's career will end after the 2014 season with multiple New York Yankees and Major League Baseball records and while milestones to his credit. On this day in 2009 Derek became the Yankees all-time hits king passing Lou Gehrig with an opposite field single in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles. Derek would pass the former Yankee captain and Iron Horse with his 2,722 hit of his Yankees career after Gehrig held the franchise record for more than 70 years.

Also on this day in 2001 as we all know and will forever remember terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York, Pentagon in Washington D.C., and got overtaken above Pennsylvania resulting in a plane crash. Major League Baseball cancelled all games on this day for security reasons and to allow everyone to reflect, mourn, and catch up with what was going on around the country.