Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Recap: Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3

Michael Pineda tossed six innings of two-run ball and the Yankees rallied for three big runs in the bottom of the eighth Wednesday as they snuck past the Blue Jays, 4-3, in an Opening Week thriller at Yankee Stadium.

Pineda's Quality Start: Pineda held the Blue Jays' bats to just six hits in six frames, limiting them to two runs while striking out six swinging. He escaped a men-on-the-corners jam in the third with punch-outs of Russell Martin and Jose Bautista, and likely wouldn't have allowed a run in the sixth had Stephen Drew fielded a ball cleanly.

Comeback: Down 3-1 and desperate for offense in the eighth, the Yankees had Chris Young pinch-hit for Didi Gregorius to lead-off the inning -- a move that resulted in a clutch bloop double down the right field line to finally build some momentum. Jacoby Ellsbury then singled Young to third before Brett Gardner got hit on the arm -- setting up a Brett Cecil wild pitch, another HBP of Brian McCann, and a seeing-eye single from Chase Headley to put the Yankees ahead.

Trouble with the Knuckleball: The Yankees mustered just one run in 6 1/3 innings against Toronto's R.A. Dickey, who -- despite entering five three-ball counts to the first 11 hitters he faced -- managed to walk just three on the night. That trip around the bases came following an Ellsbury single and stolen base in the fifth, when Carlos Beltran lined one to center for an RBI sac fly.

Betances Struggles: Dellin Betances walked two and surrendered a single in this one's top of the eighth, giving up an unearned run with one out after an inaccurate snap throw to first by McCann. Betances had induced a routine groundout to begin the inning, but lost control from there as the Blue Jays extended their advantage.

Miller Time (the Pitcher, not the Beer): Andrew Miller made his Yankees debut in the ninth, retiring three straight Blue Jays on just 11 pitches to record his second career save. He struck out one when Devon Travis waved at a 1-2 offering, and finished the job moments later with a grounder from Jose Reyes.

Next Up: CC Sabathia will make his first start of the season Thursday when the Yankees and Blue Jays wrap up this series at 7:05 p.m. ET -- a matchup in which left-handed rookie Daniel Norris is expected to pitch for the visitors. It will be Sabathia's first outing versus the Jays since his six-inning, four-run performance last April at the Rogers Centre, a contest you may remember he won handily. 

Nick's Pick's 2015: Blue Jays VS Yankees

Well here we are with our newest version of Nick's Picks and I am so excited to see what this year brings. While this will be my shortest Nick's Picks of the season, it will not be any different than all the others. I apologize that I missed opening day, but then again the Yankees missed opening day as well. I am hoping that that first game was a fluke for the Blue Jays. Honestly, nerves and expectation got the best of them in the first game. Watch as things differ in game 2 of the 2015 season. This is such a big year in terms of being without Derek Jeter, having injuries lingering over everyone's heads, and needing to make it to October which has not been the case. Mark it on your calendars this year. We will be there in October, and we will make some people change their minds on this year's club. So, now time for picks. I am so excited for this game because Michael Pineda is an exciting pitcher. What a perfect segway into the picks for this game.

Top Pitching performance: Michael Pineda hands down will be the reason the Yankees win this game. After a rough performance by Tanaka, Pineda will mow down the Jays and my prediction is striking out 7 over six strong innings and gets the win. I think that Pineda is going to look dominant and no, pine tar will not be involved in this game. This will be a huge boost for a team in need of some pitching hope.

Hitter of the Game: I do not like the fact we will have a knuckleballer throwing against this lineup in game 2, so it will be tough to find someone to be the breakthrough hitter of the game. I am going with Carlos Beltran. Watch him go 2-4 in the game with a big homerun that opens up the game for the Yankees. I think Beltran makes a statement for this victory.

Clutch Performer: In this game the clutch performer will be Stephen Drew. Drew is going to do much more with the glove than anything, but he will manage to get on base when the Yankees need him to and probably be the one on when someone touches them all. Drew is going to be huge for the win tonight.

So, I feel pretty good for my first predictions of the year and I cannot wait to be making more picks. The Yankees need a lot to go right for this years team, and this game is going to be the most important. That first victory always is the biggest. I predict the Yankees win the game 5-1. Let's go Yankees, ready for a big win and a big season.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 4/8

Welcome to tonight’s game thread for a matchup between the hometown New York Yankees and the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. This second game of the 2015 season will pit Michael Pineda for the Yankees against R.A. Dickey for the Blue Jays. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on television on the YES Network and MLB TV.

Get your Yankees tickets for the game tonight, tomorrow, or any game home or away this season right here on the blog through our friends at Ticket Monster. Ticket Monster offers third party ticket purchases and sales without all the annoying fees or shipping costs that those other guys make their money off of. If you can’t make it out to the stadium then feel free to join us in our comments section on the blog or on Twitter where we chat and live tweet almost every single game.

Go Yankees and go Pineda! Let’s get win #1 out of the way and put it in the bag.

Yankees Release 2015 Bonus Draft Slots

The New York Yankees have two picks in the first 30 picks of the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft including the #16 overall pick and the #30 overall pick in the compensation round after losing David Robertson to free agency. The Yankees learned that they would have the sixth highest draft pool in this year's draft but the slots were not determined until today.

With the 16th overall pick New York will have $2,543,300 to spend and with the 30th overall pick they will have $1,914,100 to spend. The Arizona Diamondbacks have the top pick in the draft this season and have a whopping $8,616,900 to spend and/or defer to later rounds while the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bring up the rear in the first round with the 26th overall pick and a $2,034,500 slot allotment this season.

New York also has the 57th overall pick in the second round and will top $1 million again with a $1,074,400 slot. For the complete list for the Yankees and all teams click HERE to see Baseball America's post.

Romine Clears Waivers, Outrighted to Triple-A

The New York Yankees may be smarter, or luckier, than we may have originally thought. The Yankees chose John Ryan Murphy as their backup catcher for the 2015 season and ultimately designated Austin Romine, who is out of options, for assignment at the end of spring training. Many thought that Romine would at minimum be claimed by a team and hidden on the 25 man roster all season while many thought he would be traded to the San Diego Padres, the Philadelphia Phillies or another mystery team. Well if you had none of the above when you made your prediction you would be correct as Romine cleared waivers today and was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton with the RailRiders. Romine could not refuse his assignment and elect free agency so it looks like the 26 year old will be a Yankees player at least one more season. Romine is likely to be the every day guy in Scranton with Eddy Rodriguez backing him up while standing at the top of the totem pole if something were to happen to Brian McCann or Murphy.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 4/8

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays face off for Game Two of the 2015 season after Toronto took the game on Opening Day Monday afternoon. The Yankees will look to bounce back today and get their first victory of the season off the right arm of their starter Michael Pineda. Pineda will have to out duel the knuckle baller R.A. Dickey who makes the start for the Blue Jays inside Yankee Stadium today. Both teams had off days yesterday so expect the bullpens to be fresh and readily available if need be tonight in the Bronx.

Pineda heads into the 2015 season finally looking to be healthy after struggling with injuries for his first three seasons in the Bronx. In 2014 Pineda showed glimpses of brilliance  going 5-5 with a 1.89 ERA in 13 starts while holding opposing batters to just a .200 average. Pineda’s control was also on full display last season and for much of this spring as the Yankees right hander simply does not walk many batters, a good recipe for a victory tonight for New York.

Meanwhile Dickey heads into the 2015 season coming off a 14-13 seasons in 2014 where he posted a 3.71 ERA in 215.2 IP. The weather may be the deciding factor in this game as temperatures are expected to be a bit chilly tonight in the Bronx and as we all know from our days of watching the Boston Red Sox and Tim Wakefield face off with New York, the knuckle ball does not like the cold.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. As always, Go Yankees!!

My Thoughts on Alex Rodriguez After One Game

Earlier in the day I put my thoughts onto paper concerning Masahiro Tanaka’s first start for the 2015 season so I figured I would do the same for Alex Rodriguez before Game Two starts tonight in the Bronx. We all knew that Alex’s plate discipline and his vision at the plate was not affected by the hip surgery, the suspension and the long layoff but what we did not know was how the opposing pitchers would attack him at the plate. After spring training and one game in the books I think we have at least a general idea of what Rodriguez should expect and what we should expect from A Rod in 2015.

The Toronto Blue Jays surprisingly showed a lot of respect to Alex while he was at the plate in Monday afternoon’s game, something I don’t think any of us saw coming. I don’t mean respect in the fact that they didn’t try and plunk him and make him “pay” for his mistakes he has already paid for, Ryan Dempster is still a word that rhymes with wussy, but respect in the pitch selection to Rodriguez. They didn’t give Rodriguez much to hit and the single he hit off Hutchison was when he was tiring and left a ball over the plate after the catcher set up inside.

The pitchers attacked Alex inside and Alex like the veteran that he is didn’t try and do too much. Alex seems quite content with taking his walks and keeping the line moving for the team, aka being a team player and doing whatever it takes to win. Alex doesn’t seem like he’s necessarily shooting for individual stats or rushing to collect his $6 million bonus for tying Willie Mays on the all-time home run list but again, it’s just been one game.

I will also say, and end with this, I was very impressed and humbled by the Yankees fans on Monday. Some boo’d Alex but the vast majority of the fans cheered the Yankees DH. I saw signs based off Bald Vinny’s “FORG1V3” shirt and it really made me smile to see the Yankees family getting behind Alex. Alex needs your support because he truly is his biggest and toughest critic, as hard as that is to believe, and will benefit none from hearing the Boo Birds this season. Cheer Alex and cheer for the Yankees because I think, again just after one game, that Alex may be a lot better than many of you would have thought. 

Ty Hensley. My Role Model. My Inspiration

Many of my friends have always wondered why I laugh in the face of Karma. Karma is not a real thing it’s just something they tell you to try and keep you in check, to keep you in line and to make you at least think about being a good person. If karma were a real thing how do the biggest liars, cheats and crooks go on to live these seemingly luxurious and simple lives? Why does it always seem like the best people in the world and the people who do everything right because that’s the way they were brought up, people like Ty Hensley, continue to get crapped on day after day?

This post is going to be half rant and half raising up for Mr. Hensley because this young man, his mother and his entire family are truly incredible. They are role models and they are my inspiration for how you should be, not because karma dictates it. Ty has been dealt a crap hand since being drafted in the first round by the New York Yankees and has done nothing but keep his head down, keep on working and keep that smile on his face. From the abnormality in his shoulder, to the hip injuries and surgeries, to being attacked brutally to now his Tommy John surgery Ty has never held a pity party or even questioned why, he’s taken what he has been dealt and has actually been thankful for it.

I got actual goosebumps reading his statement on Facebook when he said that he was grateful that he had the Tommy John surgery and not somebody else because he knew he could handle it and that he could and would come back for it. That’s like the ultimate selfless attitude and after interviewing him for the blog and checking in from time to time with him on Twitter and such you know it’s not just because a camera is watching. Ty is genuine and you can tell he gets a lot from his awesome mother Marci. They are such kind souls and don’t ask for anything and in turn get a ton of prayers and support from everyone, Yankees fans or not.

So I leave you with this. If you’re looking for a true inspiration or a role model in sports for your children to follow, Ty Hensley is your man. He is so Derek Jeter except for he’s better in one area, he’s accessible by the fans. He’s never not once answered or at least acknowledged a tweet, a message, whatever and has always shown nothing but respect and a humble nature through it all. Ty, I look up to you and I adore you as a person and as a member of the New York Yankees family. If I can be half the person you are and bring my children up half as well as your mother did with you then I think I’m going to be pretty blessed in the world. Once again my thoughts, my prayers, warm wishes and my sincere gratitude goes out to you. You are truly a warrior, you are truly a role model and you are truly my inspiration for life. Keep on fighting Ty and we’ll see you in the Bronx before you know it! 


Daniel Burch

My Thoughts on Masahiro Tanaka After One Game

The New York Yankees conveniently took the day off yesterday giving me the time to collect myself and collect my thoughts after game one of the 2015 season. By no means am I basing really anything off of just one game in a 162 game marathon but I did see enough to at least throw some of my thoughts onto paper before Game Two kicks off tonight in the Bronx. Let’s start with Masahiro Tanaka and his 4 IP, 6 K and 5 R (4 ER) effort from Opening Day.

Tanaka looked absolutely filthy through the first two innings, enough so that I attempted to get “TanaKa” trending on Twitter. He was moving the ball up and down, left and right and making hitters look absolutely silly. His velocity was down as expected but when your off speed stuff is as good as his was through the first two innings you really don’t need 95 MPH on your heat. Then the third inning came and Tanaka lost control of his slider while the Blue Jays simply laid off of his splitter. Tanaka just didn’t seem to trust his stuff and did not rear back and get that extra tick or two on the gun when he needed to which ultimately doomed him and the Yankees in this contest.

I don’t think his elbow is the issue although I’m sure if you watched ESPN Monday night, Tuesday and if you watch until his next start their “experts” will tell you otherwise. Tanaka had four certified doctors including Dr. James Andrews tell him to rest and rehab the elbow ligament, he’s not taking the advice of a fly by night physician. He may be a little hesitant to really open it up and see what it can do and what it can handle and ultimately he may not trust his stuff because of it but I truly believe the elbow is healthy. I could be wrong but I think with every start Tanaka gets under his belt he is going to get more confident in himself and more sure of his elbow and then, and only then, will we see the Tanaka we saw for the first 18 starts of the 2014 season. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Offense Wakes Up in Game Two

The New York Yankees offense looked like a repeat of the 2014 version of the team on Opening Day plating just one runner on a Brett Gardner home run. That changes with six runs for the Bronx Bombers in Game Two.

Vote in our prediction poll on

The Greedy Pinstripes: Your One Stop Shop for Yankees Tickets

The 2015 season is now upon with one game under our collective belts and 161 (hopefully more) to go. Now is a good a time as any to grab a pair of Yankees tickets and root, root, root for the home team either on the road or at home in the Bronx.

We have been working with Ticket Monster for two seasons now and for the 2015 season they bring a discount to you on top of their already low prices just for being a TGP reader. You have to enter your email address to subscribe, which you have to do anyway to order your tickets, and get anywhere from a 5-15% discount on all ticket sales. Not just baseball tickets, I repeat ALL ticket sales.

So if you’re in the market for some tickets and you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on fees, shipping costs when they are just going to email them to you anyway, etc. then CLICK HERE and visit our shop at Ticket Monster to grab a pair of tickets today.

As always, go Yankees!!

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/8: Yangervis "Doubles" Solarte

On this day in 2014 the New York Yankees rookie third baseman Yangervis Solarte set a major league record when he hit his sixth double of the season in the first seven games of his career. Solarte achieved the feat on this day when he hit two doubles in a 14-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles inside Yankee Stadium. Solarte would end the day batting .429 for the season after going 12-28 to start the season.

Also on this day in 2003 on a 35 degree home opener for the New York Yankees Hideki Matsui hit his first career major league home run, a grand slam at that, against the Minnesota Twins. The rest, my friends, is history.

Finally on this day in 1975 Frank Robinson became the first black manager in MLB history and started his managerial career with a victory over the New York Yankees 5-3. The Cleveland Indians new player-manager also hit a home run in his first at bat as the designated hitter.