Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Recap: Orioles 4, Yankees 3

CC Sabathia had another back-and-forth start, surrendering four earned runs in seven innings as the Orioles edged the Yankees, 4-3, Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Sabathia Inconsistent: Sabathia allowed an Adam Jones homer in the first and three more individual runs in the third, fourth and seventh -- causing him to take the loss for the second time in two outings. He had decent control on the evening -- fanning seven while dealing 63 of 91 pitches for strikes -- but in the end, the Orioles' bats just proved too much for him to handle.

A Slow Offensive Beginning: The Yankees mustered just two hits in the first five innings against Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez, who retired 10 consecutive hitters from innings 2-5. New York broke out for its first run in the sixth thanks to a two-out RBI Double from Mark Teixeira, but by then the momentum was already pretty one-sided.

Rally?: The Yankees did, however, show some life in the eighth versus the laboring Kevin Gausman -- crossing twice off the youngster to pull to within one. Carlos Beltran plated the first run of the frame with a groundout before an Alejandro De Aza missed catch allowed Chase Headley to cross home as well -- though the Yanks' comeback would still ultimately fall short following another grounder from Brian McCann. 

Britton Closes it Out: O's reliever Zach Britton subsequently sat down down the Yankees 1-2-3 in the ninth finish the contest, getting three straight Bombers to roll over routinely as the home team evened the series. Alex Rodriguez was the notable third out of the inning, having pinch-hit for Stephen Drew amidst a storm of spectator boos.

Next Up: The Yankees will look to salvage this three-game set Wednesday when they send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound for the 7:05 p.m. finale -- airing live on YES and MLB Network. Eovaldi will be hoping to build off a respectable Yankees debut when he goes head-to-head with the Orioles' Bud Norris -- a right-hander currently in possession of a 24.00 ERA.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 4/14

It’s game time ladies and gentleman as the New York Yankees and CC Sabathia face off against Miguel Gonzalez and the Baltimore Orioles inside beautiful Camden Yards and Oriole Park. It’s always fun to watch a game between these two clubs as each team always brings their best stuff to the ball park against each other. Buck Showalter is usually good for at least one douche bag comment or move as well per series so maybe that comment or move comes tonight, who knows. One thing I do know is that you were fired over 20 years ago Buck, time to move on and get over yourself. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MASN 2 and MLB TV.

Get your tickets to see these two teams go at it tomorrow in the finale of their three game set or your Yankees tickets for any game this season home or away. You get a discount just for being a TGP reader through our friends at Ticket Monster on top of no shipping costs and fees so you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal around. If you’re more of the homely type like myself then be sure to jump on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and chat it up with us or jump on our comments section and discuss the game with us there.

Enough talking out of me, it’s game time. Get those Birds! Go Yankees!!!

USA Today’s Power Rankings After Week One

USA Today releases their power rankings for all 30 Major League Baseball teams on a weekly basis and released their first regular season set yesterday. Occupying the top spot was the undefeated Detroit Tigers followed by the undefeated Kansas City Royals. The St. Louis Cardinals were in the third spot while the top five was rounded out by a pair of American League East teams in the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. Where were the Yankees you ask? Well I’m not sure how much the Sunday night beat down of the Red Sox counted towards these but nonetheless you could find the Yankees all the way down at the #28 spot on the list.

It could be worse I guess as the Minnesota Twins were ranked dead last on the list preceded by the 1-5 Milwaukee Brewers. You have to wonder how much thought goes into these rankings though as the Miami Marlins sit at 1-5 on the season after being swept by an Atlanta Braves team that their own fan base wouldn’t even recognize and were ranked ahead of New York at #26.

The team with the highest payroll, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are 6th while the team may pick to win it all, the Washington Nationals, are 7th with Oakland, Seattle and Baltimore rounding out the Top 10 in that order. The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants are #13 while the rejuvenated Chicago Cubs are #16.

So after a week of baseball and the games finally meaning something what does it all mean? Absolutely nothing. Come speak to me in September and we’ll look back at this list and laugh. 

If It Comes Down to San Diego or New York…

Speculations are already running rampant on who will win the presumed Cole Hamels sweepstakes sometime this season and the early front runners are the San Diego Padres, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in that order. Many have put the Yankees as the favorites to land Hamels but I honestly think that was just to garner clicks and sell newspapers because if it comes down to San Diego or New York AJ Preller is going to win every single time.

I don’t pretend to know much about the state of the farm system in San Diego but one would have to think that after the flurry of acquisitions and trades this winter the Padres minor league system has to be weak. That’s not to say that the team could not pull off a trade for Hamels involving a Wil Myers or one of their many stud pitchers but I would have to think that New York has the better or deeper farm system right now. The difference between what Preller is doing in San Diego and what Brian Cashman is doing in New York is that Cashman is holding on to his prospects for the next dynasty or maybe the next big trade that makes sense. A trade for Hamels on the wrong side of 30 years old with all the money associated with the deal does not make sense for a Yankees team that is probably two or three years away from being a true World Series caliber team.

Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers are always dark horses in any race for starting pitching while teams like the Texas Rangers and others may jump into the action as well. The only type of trades that New York is pulling off these days is salary dumps and players past their primes for less than stellar prospects that the team will never miss. Gone are the days that New York pulls off the blockbuster trade and that alone would, and should, keep the Yankees from acquiring Hamels this season.

Indians DFA Shaun Marcum... Should Yankees Pounce?

At the same time that the Cleveland Indians signed Jhoulys Chacin to a minor league contract, the team designated for assignment Shaun Marcum.

Marcum missed the entire 2014 season due to recovering from surgery for Thoracic outlet syndrome. I don't fully understand it, but TOS has to do with nerves being compromised in the shoulder.

Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers returned last year from surgery for TOS and didn't have any shoulder issues (he missed most of the season with a back injury, which needed surgery). Also, Chris Young had surgery for TOS in 2013 and returned the next year as a valuable member of the starting rotation for the Seattle Mariners.

While Marcum had a rough season in 2013, posting an ERA of 5.29 to go with a record of 1-10, in 2011 and 2012 with the Brewers Shawn had an ERA of 3.60 and a record of 20-11. So perhaps signing him to a minor league deal would be a good gamble.

Keith Law Looks At Top Minor League Rosters

In an article posted earlier today (ESPN Insider only), Keith Law brought up some of the most prospect laden rosters in the minor leagues.

Along with the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston's AAA affiliate), the Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astro's AA affiliate), the Frisco RoughRiders (Texas Rangers' AA affiliate), and a few other teams, Law talked about the Trenton Thunder.

Keith notes that the Thunder are best known for their offensive prospects, who have helped the team put up 31 runs in their first 4 games. Along with power prospects Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Greg Bird, Trenton also has 2013 first-rounder, Eric Jagielo.

But it isn't all about the bats in Trenton, as the team also boasts the top pitching prospect in the Yankees organization... Luis Severino.

I should also note that the Trenton Thunder roster also has the 15th ranked Jake Cave, and #19 Dante Bichette Jr. (rankings by Daniel Burch).

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 4/14

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles play game two of their three game series tonight in Camden Yards and Oriole Park with another great pitching matchup. For the Yankees CC Sabathia makes his second start of the young season against the Orioles Miguel Gonzalez. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MASN 2 and of course MLB TV.

Sabathia’s line from his first start of the season looked terrible but if you actually watched the game you would know that there was quite a few positives to pull from. Sabathia did allow five runs, four earned, but many of them were off little flares and broken bat singles that were aided by a sketchy defense and a few mental mistakes from his teammates. Sabathia did go for 95 pitches in the start and looks to be completely stretched out, and more importantly healthy, for the grind that will be the 2015 season.

Gonzalez is coming off his first start of the season in which he took a loss despite allowing just one run on three hits in 5.2 IP. Gonzalez did issue five walks but did strikeout five in the loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Let’s hope that wild and inefficient arm is on full display tonight in the Bronx.

It’s supposed to be another beautiful night at one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of Major League Baseball and nothing can make that any better than a Yankees victory. Let’s get one and let’s make sure we’re supporting our team. Go Yankees!!!

The Growing Debate for the Yankees Franchise Four

Major League Baseball has an initiative this season to vote on all 30 team’s “Franchise Four” which is basically a Mount Rushmore for every team. While some team’s decisions are pretty simple, see teams like the Miami (Florida) Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks for instance, while some teams are extremely difficult. Then you have the New York Yankees where you could ask 100 different people and get 100 different answers and technically all 100 could be correct. It was a discussion that the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew had during the Yankees victory and after some Twitter debate with Buster Olney, which was cool to see him interact with us on Twitter, I decided to come out with my picks for the Franchise Four.

Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio are locks in my opinion and in the opinions of about every single person who has asked the question so we won’t cover them too much. The real debate is for the final spot in the Franchise Four and it truly is a race with names like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and even players like Don Mattingly and Roger Clemens getting honorable mentions. While I am not crazy enough to include Clemens or Mattingly on my list, and no Whitey Ford is not on it either, I will make the case for Mantle, Berra, Jeter and Rivera briefly.

First I’ll start with Rivera who Mr. Olney picked on his Franchise Four list. No closer, however dominant, is more valuable in my opinion than a player that plays every single day. Especially when you consider that one player has more World Series rings than he does fingers (I exaggerate a little on Berra, but not by much) while transcending the offensive catcher position while the other has over 500 home runs and without a drinking problem and two balky knees could have hit 700 in his career. Mantle may be considered the 3rd best center fielder of all time behind DiMaggio and Willie Mays but Yogi played for a team where their excellence and worth was judged by how many rings they have and he has more than anyone… how can it not be him for THIS team?

Jeter is a popular pick, and probably a nostalgic pick, as he holds many of the team’s all-time records due to his longevity, durability, the DH, 162 games, advanced medicine, not losing time to major World War’s etc. but he hasn’t done enough to surpass Mantle or Berra in my eyes. He’s probably Top 6 or Top 7 on my list but I’m being held to just four and he doesn’t make the cut, same for Rivera. So it comes down to Mantle and Berra. Berra has the rings and Mantle has the towering 500 foot home runs but while the team is nicknamed the Bronx Bombers you don’t become worth $3.2 Billion and the most successful team in major league history by just hitting home runs, you do it by winning World Series championships. That’s why I go with the man with the rings, the “nobody goes to that restaurant anymore because it’s too crowded,” the “it’s getting late pretty early,” Mr. Yogi Berra. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Don’t Acquire Cole Hamels

Early indications and predictions show that Cole Hamels is very likely to be traded sometime this season. The early favorites are the Yankees, Padres and Red Sox. I don’t know who will trade for him but it won’t be the Yankees.

Vote in our prediction poll on Knoda.com

You Guys are Absolutely Killing It

I wanted to start this Tuesday off by giving you guys and girls, everyone who is reading this and everyone who has ever read our content, a big thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys are absolutely killing it right now and we’re just a week’s worth of games into the season. Views are through the roof on the site and our Twitter notifications is becoming a full time job and I cannot say how eternally grateful and thankful I am for every single one of them and every single one of you. Thank you.

Let’s keep this going and let’s have a great season not only on the field but on the site, on Twitter and in our comments section. There are no better fans in the world than Yankees fans, fact not opinion, and you guys and girls cement this in my mind every single day. Again, thank you. 

The Daily Dozen - April 13th Edition

The Daily Dozen - April 13, 2015 Edition

Twelve Takeaways from Tonight's Game

1. There were A LOT of empty seats in Baltimore.  Was it cold or something?  Maybe the Baltimore Bullets were playing a game to get into the NBA playoffs?  Who knows...it seems like many of the televised games I have seen thus far this season have had people wearing seat-colored clothing.

2. Chris Young gets the Yankees started.  Young got his 2nd home run of the year in the 2nd and was 2 for 4 bringing his 2015 average to .357 leading all Yankees.  He also leads the Yanks with an OPS of 1.295.  Not bad for the 4th or 5th Outfielder!  According to the NY Post he also tracked down the woman who collected Brian McCann's 200th HR and negotiated a deal.
"Put that in your pipe and smoke it!"
3. Manny Machado had 51 Doubles in 2013.  He gets his first of 2015 against the Yankees in the bottom of the 2nd tying the ball game.  Schoop (pronounced SCOPE) ended up getting a double as well after an overturned out call at 2nd base making the score 2-1 Orioles.

4. You can't spell Pineda without PINE.  As in pine tar.  Every time he pitches for the rest of his career, at least on ESPN, we will be reminded of the PINE TAR game against Boston.  Thanks for being predictable guys!  They need to just LET IT GO.

5. Alex Rodriguez back at Third Base!  I bet that the ESPN crew did not make any comments about steroids or the impending fight with the Yankees over 660 or about his suspension.  Oh wait...see item #5 above.

6. Teixeira batting right-handed again tonight.  Lo and behold...a home run to tie it at 2-2 in the 4th.  Didn't I say something about he should continue batting right-handed...?  I swear I said that somewhere...maybe it was just the added bonus of playing in front of a home (hostile) crowd that got his juices flowing.

7. The New York Yankees are the "Most Shiftable Team in MLB."  It's probably not an award they would want to win.  On the other hand...check out the top teams in the American League that employed the shift in 2014 (according to ESPN's research dept): 1. Astros - 1341, 2. Rays - 824, 3. Yankees -739, 4. Orioles - 705.  The team average for MLB is 443.  For those of you that don't know what the shift is, I have included a helpful diagram for you here:
The Shift commonly used against Right-handed Pull hitters...
8. And the stats just keep on coming.  Coming into this game with Baltimore, the Yankees were 1 for 19 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position (RISP).  That's an .053 clip--worst in the majors.  That number didn't change with Teixeira's walk in the 6th and briefly went down to 1 for 20 with A-Rod's fly out.  But oh how the numbers tend to average out over time, ehh?  Ellsbury got an infield single in the 7th to load the bases putting the Yankees at 2 for 21 (.095).  Then came the big surprise of the last decade...putting that number at 3 for 22 (.136).

9. Chris Davis' Drug Suspension.  Does anyone remember Davis' suspension for the use of Amphetamines?  I mean I'm sure ESPN brought it up ad nauseum like the whole A-Rod ordeal...maybe I just missed it?  Check out this article if you don't know what I'm talking aboot.

10. Pineda, Pineda, Pinata.  So he finally gets some run support and gives up 5 earned runs.  Come on man! You can't have it both ways.  But seriously...prior to the 2-run HR given up to Jones in the bottom of the 6th with a frickin' 1-2 count that made it 4-2 his line was stellar with 2 ER, 7 Ks, and ZERO base on balls (BB).  Michael PINEda finished with 6-1/3 IP throwing 98 pitches, 5 ER on 9 hits, with 9 Ks.  His ERA ballooned to 5.11.  But more importantly he got the win balancing out the no decision he got in his last start.

11. What are the odds?  If you would have bet me a million dollars that 1) Stephen Drew would pinch hit for Brett Gardner after he got hit in the wrist earlier in the game, 2) said pinch hitter would then proceed to be patient enough to get in a hitter's count and 3) said pinch hitter would hit a Grand Slam to put the Yankees up 6-4 in the bottom of the 6th...I would be penniless.  I mean only in Baseball right?  The guy who all of us bloggers like to pick on the most is making us eat crow the last 2 nights.  All I can say is that this crow tastes mighty good right now!

12. Betances vs. Miller.  As of right now I would say that Andrew Miller has dibs on the Closer role as his performance in the 8th and 9th innings tonight was much better than that of Dellin Betances with 3 Ks vs. Betances' 1.  What is wrong with Dellin...shouldn't he have like 20 Ks by now??  His 24 pitches tonight only included 10 strikes, which was very uncharacteristic.  Only time will tell.  I still feel pretty good about the bullpen (sans Esmil Rogers).

Recap: Yankees 6, Orioles 5

Michael Pineda surrendered five earned runs in 6 1/3 innings and Stephen Drew hit a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh Monday to help the Yankees sneak past the Orioles, 6-5, in the first of three games between the two at Camden Yards.

Pineda's Win: Pineda wasn't necessarily dominant in this one, giving up five runs on nine hits as the Orioles took multiple leads throughout. He did strike out nine, however, and left with the Yanks' advantage intact after finally getting some run support. 

Drew Turns the Tides: Due to an apparent wrist injury to Brett Gardner, Drew pinch-hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh -- making up for Gardner's absence big time with a grand slam to right-center off Tommy Hunter. The shot put the Yankees up 6-4 with just three innings remaining, causing the Yanks' dugout to erupt in celebration as Drew circled the diamond. 

Other Home Runs: Still, Drew's drive would've have meant as much had Chris Young and Mark Teixeira not also homered on the night -- Young recording a solo blast in the second and Teixeira another long ball in the fourth. Both four-baggers came off Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, and kept the Yankees and Orioles even at two up until the bottom of the sixth. 

Betances Escapes Trouble: Following Pineda's removal in the seventh, Dellin Betances found himself in a bases-loaded, one-out jam with the top of the O's order set to hit  -- a recipe that usually culminates in disaster for opposing clubs. Fortunately on Monday, though, Betances was able to stop the Orioles from tying it thanks to an Alejandro De Aza force-out and a Chris Davis strikeout -- stranding three men on despite Betances' bad control. 

Miller Closes it Out: Andrew Miller then entered with one out in the eighth to officially close the door --retiring five of the six Orioles he faced while impressively fanning three. Miller has now thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings on the season, striking out six batters in total while still not allowing a hit. 

Next Up: CC Sabathia will look to end this series early Tuesday when he and the Yankees battle the Orioles again at 7:05 p.m. ET -- Sabathia's second start of 2015. He will be hoping to out-duel right-hander Miguel Gonzalez when the action airs live on the YES Network -- Gonzalez having held the Rays to one run over 5 2/3 innings in his previous outing on Wednesday. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/14: Elston Howard Makes JFK Cry

On this day in 1967 21 year old left handed starting pitcher Billy Rohr is one out from pitching a no hitter in his Major League debut when Elston Howard singles on a 3-2 pitch to ruin the no hit bid. The Red Sox would win the game 3-0 but will be forever remembered as the game that John F. Kennedy Jr. was caught crying by the dugout and being consoled by his mother, Jackie Kennedy, because the shot at immortality was lost.

On this day in 1955 Elston Howard, who would later be named the American League MVP in 1963, became the first black player to play for the Yankees. Howard was a nine time All Star and played in 54 World Series games compiling a career batting average of .274.

On this day in 1911 a fire broke out and destroyed much of the Polo Grounds, the home of the New York Giants. The New York Highlanders, now known as the Yankees, offered the Giants a place to play for six weeks. Temporary stands were made at the Polo Grounds and the Giants soon returned.