Sunday, April 5, 2015

MLB Opening Night: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs

Major League Baseball is back ladies and gentleman! Welcome to the first game thread of the 2015 season as the new look Chicago Cubs play host to the St. Louis Cardinals on MLB Opening Night. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on ESPN.

Here is the write up for tonight's Cubs starter Jon Lester:

Lester will make his second career start at Wrigley Field. The lefty's only other game there was June 16, 2012, when he got the win for the Red Sox. The Cubs will watch his pitch count after Lester missed a start this spring because of a tired arm.
And here is the write up for the Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright:

Wainwright draws the fifth Opening Day assignment of his career. A mid-February abdominal strain led Wainwright to have an abbreviated spring, but he still fit in three Grapefruit League starts. He built up to 93 pitches in the last one.

Predicting the World Series Winner in 2015

Based on my Division Winner Predictions Blog the playoff field is set for the 2015 MLB Playoffs but who will get hot at the right time and win it all? Let’s see who I think takes home the trophy this season. The BOLDED team is who I predict wins the contest.

American League

AL Wild Card Game:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Cleveland Indians

American League Division Series:

Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians
Seattle Mariners vs. Detroit Tigers

American League Championship Series:

Seattle Mariners vs. Cleveland Indians

National League

NL Wild Card Game:

Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals

National League Division Series:

Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

National League Championship Series:

Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

2015 World Series: 

Seattle Mariners @ Washington Nationals

Let me take this opportunity to give an extremely early set of congratulations to the Washington Nationals on their sweep of the 2015 Major League Baseball World Series.

Key Dates for the 2015 MLB Season

The Major League Baseball season is ready to kick off another great season of baseball with a few key dates to keep in mind. Opening night is Sunday, April 5th when the St. Louis Cardinals travel to Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs and the season ends on Sunday, October 4th where all 30 teams play on the same day at the same time (1:05 pm ET) with a few key dates mixed in between.

The Yankees travel to Fenway Park for the first time on May 1st where Alex Rodriguez will likely hear a chorus of boos. Remember one of the last times we saw Rodriguez in Fenway Ryan Dempster was hitting him (on the fourth try) with a fastball and later Rodriguez hit a home run and mocked David Ortiz’s home run trot and celebration. That should be fun.

Paul Konerko gets his #14 jersey retired by the Chicago White Sox on May 23 but there is no date set for Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada or any of the other ceremonies that will be held this season at Yankee Stadium.

The All Star Game will be held in Cincinnati for the 5th time on July 14th of this year and this will mark the first All Star Game for new commissioner Rob Manfred. Pete Rose will be in the stadium after getting permission to attend the event and will likely be honored once again by the team. Hall of Fame inductions for Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio will be held twelve days later on Sunday, July 26th with the July 31st trading deadline happening just a few days later.

There are a few minor dates to follow including the August 31st waiver trade deadline and the September call ups that happen on September 1st but these are the major ones. Bookmark this post because you may need it later on in the season. It’s going to be another great season for Major League Baseball and frankly I can’t wait. 

Yankees Continue to Emulate AL Champion Kansas City Royals

Dayton Moore and the Kansas City Royals went back to the old school when they built their 2014 version of the team that went to the World Series against the San Francisco Giants. The Royals haven’t been relevant for the better part of three decades and came back to relevancy with a strong bullpen, speed and defense. If you look at the way the Yankees ran their operation this offseason and really dissect what went down it looks like New York may be following that same blueprint in hopes of the same success in 2015.

New York added speed and defense at the expense of power in Didi Gregorius to an already speedy group in Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury while the team also added strong defensive players in Chase Headley, Chris Young, and Garrett Jones. The team is deep, talented and versatile in the field and on the base paths which is a good thing because I cannot see the team hitting 200+ home runs or driving in 600+ runs this season.

The Yankees, like the Royals, passed on the likes of Max Scherzer, James Shields, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval and instead went with lesser signings that more fit the team. Instead of the Yankees waiting on the three run home run the team will now take their walks, steal bases, go from first to third on hits, and play a scrappy game before handing the ball over to one of the top bullpens in the league. While the Royals made their name with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland the Yankees will try to emulate that success with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Jacob Lindgren. New York’s bullpen may be deeper than Kansas City’s with David Carpenter, Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, Adam Warren and others turning a seven or eight inning game into a five or six inning game.

The Royals were built right but the team also got hot at the right time, something a GM cannot plan for or account for. You have to plan for the worst and hope for the best and the Yankees, like the Royals, have done that this offseason. Will the results be the same? Stay tuned. 

Predicting the Standings & Playoff Teams in 2015

I do this every single season and every single season I start the post out wondering why I even bother. I am terrible at these pre-season predictions and it makes me truly wonder how I got nicknamed the “Yankees Wizard” for my predictions on Twitter. Anyway, I digress. I will once again take a stab at predicting the winners of each division, the playoff teams and the overall standings in Major League Baseball in 2015. I will do so with this warning, do not use my predictions to place bets on Major League Baseball (unless you’re going against my predictions, then I want half your winnings) because you are very likely to lose. With that said let’s get to the predictions:

American League East:

Boston Red Sox - 96- 66 *
New York Yankees - 90-72
Baltimore Orioles - 88-74
Toronto Blue Jays – 85 -77
Tampa Bay Rays – 70 - 92

American League Central:

Detroit Tigers - 93 -69 *
Cleveland Indians – 92- 70 **
Chicago White Sox – 89 - 75
Kansas City Royals – 83 - 79
Minnesota Twins – 79 - 83

American League West:

Seattle Mariners – 95-67 *
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 93 -69 **
Oakland Athletics – 90 -72
Texas Rangers - 88 -76
Houston Astros - 82-82

National League East:

Washington Nationals -101-61 *
Miami Marlins – 93-69 **
New York Mets – 89 - 73
Atlanta Braves – 82-82
Philadelphia Phillies – 65- 97

National League Central:

Pittsburgh Pirates - 91- 71 *
St. Louis Cardinals – 90-72 **
Chicago Cubs – 88 -74
Milwaukee Brewers – 79- 83
Cincinnati Reds – 70 - 92

National League West:

Los Angeles Dodgers – 99-63 *
San Diego Padres – 89- 73
San Francisco Giants – 85-77
Colorado Rockies – 78-84
Arizona Diamondbacks – 75-87

* Denotes division winner

** Denotes Wild Card winner

Happy Easter from The Greedy Pinstripes

Happy Easter everybody! We want to thank you all for hanging out with is, chatting with us on Twitter and the comments section and generally just being awesome for reading our stuff. So in between opening Easter baskets, having awesome Easter dinners, hunting for eggs and spending time with family I am glad you stopped by to read this.

Enjoy your day everyone!

Former Yankees Update: Scott Baker

The New York Yankees released Scott Baker after he tossed 10.1 IP this spring and had an outside shot at making the team out of spring training camp. The team announced that they hoped to sign him to another minor league deal that kept the Yankees from paying a $100,000 retention bonus but before New York could do that the Los Angeles Dodgers swooped in and grabbed him up.

As a member of the Yankees this spring Baker allowed nine earned runs in those 10 innings striking out 10 without issuing a single walk.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/5: Babe Ruth & Quaker Oats

On this day in 1934 Babe Ruth, with the backing of Quaker Oats, agreed to do weekly NBC broadcasts. Ruth's 13 week salary for the radio gig was $4000 more than his Yankees contract.

Also on this day in 1925 Babe Ruth collapsed at a railroad station in Asheville, North Carlina. The "bellyache heard round the world" would require hospitalization and an operation that would keep the Yankees star out of the lineup until May. One writer suggested too many hot dogs and soda caused the illness, I guess we will never know.

Finally on this day in 1913 in an exhibition game the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers played a game in front of 25,000 fans. The significance behind the game was it was the first ever game played in Ebbets Field. Casey Stengel hit the first home run, an inside the park home run, and the Dodgers beat the Yankees 3-2.