Monday, March 23, 2015

Recap: Nationals 7, Yankees 6

Bryan Mitchell labored through 3 1/3 innings and Chris Young connected on a pair of big home runs Monday as the Yankees fell to the Nationals, 7-6, in a back-and-forth contest in Viera.

Mitchell's Rough Day: Mitchell surrendered just two earned over his 10-out performance, but still otherwise struggled in his second start of the spring. He gave up four hits and three walks while striking out two -- escaping a few jams early thanks to a groundball double-play from Nationals pitcher Doug Fister and a caught stealing of Bryce Harper.

September Young Returns: With the Yankees trailing 4-3 in the top of the fifth, Young crushed a solo shot off Fister -- a no-doubter to left the Nationals' outfield could only watch. He then hit a two-run bomb off former Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen in the sixth -- another liner to left Young was able to keep fair.

Early Offense: Following a Rob Refsnyder double in the third, the Yankees began to put the barrel to the ball against Fister -- plating three to open the scoring on a sharp groundout from Brett Gardner and a two-run blast from Brian McCann. McCann's four-bagger, his second in the last week, came on a high fly ball to right that just kept carrying -- eventually clearing the wall after a long run back by Harper.

Things Fall Apart: The Yankees maintained that 3-0 advantage until the bottom of the fourth, when Mitchell was removed with two on and one out. The Nationals rallied for four with hits off Yanks relievers Chasen Shreve and Jose Ramirez in the frame, with a rare single by Fister accounting for their first two runs.

Things Fall Apart Again: The Yankees were up 6-4 later on when Kyle Davies took the mound for Washington's half of the seventh, quickly walking Ian Desmond and allowing a single to Harper to put runners on the corners. A subsequent missed catch error on a pickoff attempt by Francisco Arcia also hurt the Yankees notably, and from there two doubles by Ryan Zimmerman and Jose Lobaton were all the Nationals needed to grab the lead.

Next Up: The Yankees will look to get back to their winning ways Tuesday night when they host the Tigers in a 7:05 p.m. matchup in Tampa -- a game in which Esmil Rogers is expected to start for the Pinstripes. It will likely be Rogers' last outing before he find outs whether he will be in the Yankees' rotation this year -- manager Joe Girardi having said Monday he would prefer to make a decision by the end of the week.

ICYMI: The Best Case Scenario for the 2015 New York Yankees

Ideally, what is the best case scenario for the New York Yankees? What cards have to fall just right and what acquisitions have to succeed for the fans to call this team a success in 2015? Me being the optimist that I am, although I was accused of not being in recent weeks, I wanted to take a look at just how far this team could go if all the stars aligned and all the dominoes fell where they may.

It starts with health and ends with effectiveness. I think every team that has ever won a World Series or has made the playoffs can and would say that, luck cannot be quantified nor relied on in Major League Baseball. The Yankees luckily had all three in 2015 with 35 starts each from both Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia. Sabathia was never the ace he was in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s but still managed to win 15 games with a low 4.00 ERA while Tanaka was the first Yankees pitcher to win 20 games in a season since Sabathia with 22, just because it’s one more than Sabathia’s 21 in 2010.

Mark Teixeira was also much healthier in 2015 and had to take fewer and fewer days as the grind of the season wore on. Teixeira never came close to hitting .300 again but a very respectable .260 with 38 home runs kept the Yankees in a lot of ball games. Carlos Beltran was on base when almost all 38 of those Teixeira home runs cleared the fences proving that he still had something left in the tank and that his production was affected by the elbow spurs. Beltran never hit the 30 home run power New York may have hoped for but he did flirt with .300 for much of the season before settling in with a .289 average in 151 games played, 135 of them in right field. Alex Rodriguez was not only effective in 2015 he was surprisingly good all things considered. Considering that he is 40 years old and coming off a second hip surgery with a yearlong steroid suspension and a platoon role with Garrett Jones thrown in Alex still shows a good batters eye at the plate and some good opposite field power. Rodriguez only hits 12 home runs in 2015 but his OBP is 125 points higher than his batting average and in years past a lot of his doubles would have been home runs inside Yankee Stadium.

Finally the Yankees got a ton of help from their farm system that they finally began to rely on more heavily. Tyler Austin came up when Chris Young injured himself assaulting a pitching machine (yes, he struck out again) and shined for the Bombers while Luis Severino came up in September and put the rest of the league on notice for 2016. The bullpen was easily the best in the game as the Yankees boasted the first four-headed monster with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam Warren and Jacob Lindgren while the likes of David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve shined in their 6th and 7th inning roles. The Yankees rode their fresh legs and their young arms and their veteran presences all the way to the World Series because probably seven times out of ten talent always wins out over luck.

Spring: New York Yankees @ Washington Nationals 3/23

The New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals play this afternoon as both teams inch closer and closer to Opening Day and to the end of Spring Training 2015. The Yankees will send Bryan Mitchell to the mound as he possibly attempts to make a case for the Yankees fifth or sixth starter job. Opposing Mitchell will be Doug Fister for the Nationals.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Space Coast Stadium. The game will be seen on MASN, MLB Network and on MLB TV. Go Yankees!

Masahiro Tanaka Lined Up for Opening Day

Masahiro Tanaka is lined up to make the start on Opening Day for the New York Yankees snapping CC Sabathia's streak of six straight starts. According to Brendan Kuty of the initials "MT" were on Joe Girardi's whiteboard for the Wednesday start against the New York Mets. Joe Girardi stated that he was trying to get everyone lined up for the beginning of the season which mixed in with the initials has the Yankees blogosphere speculating.

The Yankees can either go two ways with this thing. CC Sabathia is lined up to start on April 6th if he is pitching every 5th day in the rotation but may be a bit behind since he didn't make his debut until two weeks into the spring. Tanaka will go a complete week between starts, his last start came last Wednesday against the Braves, and would lineup to start the Opening Day game on six days rest.

Will Sabathia make it seven seasons in a row? Will Tanaka pitch on five days rest to try and protect his elbow? Will the fact that the Yankees seem at least willing to use six starters in the first two months of the season factor into this? Stay tuned...

Most Popular Article of the Week: The Yankees Are Not Run By Imbeciles

by Bryan Van Dusen:

There are a lot of very intelligent Yankees fans, some of which regularly comment right here at The Greedy Pinstripes. Their concerns involving decisions made by front office members and management tend to be justified, and their solutions well thought-out.

However, there are also a lot of Yankees fans whose intelligence seems to be on par with the mulch millions of people will soon use for their gardens. And very few of them will concede to the fact that they know little to nothing about the Yankees and/or the game of baseball. They just like to use comment sections and other avenues to rant and rave, even though doing that just makes their lack of knowledge more apparent.

"According to YankeezzFan1981, as well as many others, we have a combined IQ of 82... which is also how many games he thinks we'll win this season." - Girardi

"That seems kind of low, don't ya think?" - Cashman

"How should I know? I'm not smart enough to remember to breathe." - Girardi

It wouldn't take me long to repeat some of their idiotic comments, and debunk them. You can go to Twitter, search "Yankees", and see enough moronic comments to make you lose faith in humanity. However, I want to concentrate on the two men within the Yankees organization that get the most flak, and don't deserve it.

"What's in a rum and coke? It's a shot of vodka and a splash of cranberry juice, right?"

While some people may think that he was just some nerd that lucked his way into his position with the team, allow me to point out that Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman started all four years at the Catholic University of America, where he played second base. Brian is not an example of somebody that studied statistics and just happened to like baseball enough to take a job as some type of assistant (a la Jonah Hill's character in Moneyball). Cashman was a player first.

In 1986, three years before graduating from college, he was an intern for the Yankees. From 1986 through 1994, he worked under general managers Clyde King, Woody Woodward, Lou Piniella, Bob Quinn, Harding "Pete" Peterson, and Gene Michael. He then spent the next couple years as the assistant general manager for Bob Watson.

Finally, in 1998, Brian Cashman was named the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Yankees. Due to his inexperience at the position (some teams would just hire GMs from other teams, as opposed to giving a newbie the job), many believe that Brian's time at the position would be short-lived. However, he not only lasted longer than expected, but he is currently the second-longest tenured GM in Yankee history (Ed Barrow, the original GM of the Yankees, spent 24 years at the position).

In 2005, when it looked like Brian may leave the Yankees due to being unhappy with ownership, the Washington Nationals were primed to hire him to be their General Manager. But Cashman and the Yankees were able to work out a new deal, in which the GM was given more power over the team.

Cashman was selected as the MLB Executive of the Year in 2009 by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writer's Association of America. Speaking of awards earned, back in 1999 Brian was named to Crain's New York Business 40 under 40 list. Furthermore, he was involved in the development of the video game MLB Front Office Manager.

See, Brian Cashman is not some dumb schlub that's been able to hold onto his position thanks to the team's deep pockets. He's a very intelligent person that's seen baseball from the field and from the front office, and thus earned his spot in the game.

"I just have one question for you, Mr. Umpire! Who should I bring in from the bullpen, because I've been told over and over again that I'm a damn fool?!?!"

The other guy that gets more hate than he deserves, as if you couldn't tell by the above picture, is Joe Girardi.

Girardi attended Northwestern University, and earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering. While some kids get into colleges, that they don't deserve, due to them being athletes, Northwestern is not known for pushing athletics over academics. From Wikipedia...
Consistently ranked as a top national and global university, Northwestern is classified as a leading research institution, attracting over $550 million in sponsored research each year. In addition, Northwestern has one of the largest university endowments in the United States, currently valued at $9.8 billion. In 2014, the university accepted 12.9% of undergraduate applicants, making Northwestern one of the most selective universities in the country.
But Joe isn't another example of a geek that happened to be in the right place at the right time, as he played 15 seasons in MLB as a catcher.

By the way, if you've ever played baseball you'll know that the catcher is basically the quarterback of the game. He will guide pitchers by not only selecting what pitch they throw, but where they throw it, and will talk them through issues they may be having. Furthermore, the catcher will also check and make sure his team mates are properly aligned in the field, and call things such as pick-off plays. 

If the catching position weren't so freakin' important, guys like Jose Molina, with their career batting line of .233/.282/.327, wouldn't have appeared in 947 MLB games.

So Girardi's playing days make his resume look a little better, right? But what about his coaching experience? Okay...

In 2006, Joe Girardi was named the National League Manager of the Year, while he guided the Florida Marlins and their league-low $15 million payroll to a 78-win season. I'd like to take this time to point out that a dozen players made more than the entire Marlins' team that year (five of them played for the Yankees that season). So Joe certainly didn't succeed thanks to high-paid superstars.

And the Yankees aren't the only team that's been interested in Girardi as their manager. The Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and Baltimore Orioles have all either had strong interest and/or offered Joe a contract to run their teams. 

And let's not forget that Joe hasn't always had it easy. In 2011, with the team plagued by injuries to a number of key players, Girardi was still able to guide the team to an AL East crown.

Finally, I'd like to point out that Joe Girardi is not somebody that necessarily wants to lean on veterans, while young players get the shaft.

In 2004, before becoming the manager of the Yankees, Girardi hosted the youth-oriented Yankees on Deck, which received good reviews. Joe actually turned down a larger role on the YES Network the following season, as well as a bench coaching spot and a guarantee to become the manager with the Marlins, in order to take a bench coach spot with the Yanks. By the way, during Spring Training, Girardi continued to host of Kids on Deck. So keep that in mind the next time you want to bash Girardi for playing Stephen Drew ahead of Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela. Perhaps there's another reason for doing so.


I don't mean to say these two guys never make mistakes. Like any of us in our jobs, they certainly do mess up. But they are not "incredibly stupid" or "embarrassingly incompetent". While it's subjective, I can accept that they aren't tops at their respective jobs. But I'm not about to call for either man's removal while acting like I should be running the team. Nor do I think you'd be any better.

TGP Daily Poll: Bryan Mitchell Goes Five Innings

Bryan Mitchell is a real long shot for the Yankees 5th starter position but he will make his case in his next start against the Washington Nationals by going five innings. Not many pitchers are going five innings yet making this a pretty bold prediction.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Yankees Release 13 Minor League Players

The New York Yankees have released 13 minor league players before minor league spring training camps get in full swing. The list of players includes pitchers Christopher Cabrera, Dayton Dawe, Alex Polanco, David Rodriguez, Hayden Sharp, Hector Martinez and Abel Mora. The positional player list includes RJ Johnson, Bubba Jones, Jake Anderson, Casey Stevenson, Anderson Feliz and Daniel Lopez. This came a week after the Yankees released Mat Gamel just a week after signing him.

These sort of purges happen in every minor league system but it sucks when they do. Most of these names I admittedly haven't heard of or don't know much about but Hayden Sharp was a guy I had followed since he was acquired. Oh well, hopefully these guys latch on elsewhere.

This Day In New York Yankees History 3/23: Howard Spira Arrested

On this day in 1990 Howard Spira was arrested for extorting money from George Steinbrenner, the former Yankees owner. The Yankees owner paid Spira $40,000 in January to dig up dirt on outfielder Dave Winfield.