Friday, May 29, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/29

You know you used to see those commercials about getting the 2:00 feeling while you’re at work and they suggested this miracle product that would hype you up for the rest of the day? If I stayed up and watched this game tonight I would need about nine of those, oh and a new heart, to make it through my day tomorrow. No thanks. Anyway the Yankees and the Athletics matchup for the second time this week as a part of their four game set inside the Oakland Coliseum. Tonight the Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound to face off with the A’s Sonny Gray. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

Get your Yankees tickets right here on the blog before New York comes home to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium. Click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to get yours through our partnership with Ticket Monster. If you can’t make it live then that’s not an issue just jump on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and/or the comments section to interact with us during each and every game, except for West Coast games obviously, because it’s almost just like being there in person.

Mr. Capuano will take it from here. Go Yankees!!

Slade Heathcott to DL, Ramon Flores to be Called Up

The New York yankees have added Slade Heathcott to the 15 day disabled list with a Grade II quad strain. To fill his roster spot the team will call up Ramon Flores and will have the outfielder on the team for tomorrow night's game. Flores is on the 40 man roster and a roster move will not be needed to accommodate the move.

While We Wait: What Happened to Bryce Harper?

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper drove a Jon Lester fastball over the left-field fence at Wrigley Field on Wednesday for his 18th home run of the season and his 13th in his last 19 games.
Harper, now 22, played very well for most of his first three seasons in the Majors and frequently flashed the type of potential that made him a Sports Illustrated cover boy at only 16 years old. But the young star has never before enjoyed a stretch this long of production this great.

With the Nats now 47 games deep into their 2015 campaign, Harper already has more homers and more extra-base hits than he tallied across 100 games in an injury-riddled 2014 season. He is on pace for 63 homers this season, and if he could somehow maintain his 13-homers-in-19-games clip the rest of the way — and he almost certainly won’t, naturally — he would finish with 78.

It’s nuts. Harper has started the season so well that only an injury or an unprecedented slump will keep it from being by far the best of his young career. And a look at some of Harper’s numbers suggests the difference has come from improved plate discipline.

Check this out: In the early part of 2015, Harper saw significantly more pitches per plate appearances (P/PA) than he ever did in the past — jumping from a slightly above average 3.89 figure to a 4.36 mark that ranks second in the Majors. Harper has swung less frequently and walked far more often.
And though it could be in part a function of the pitchers he has faced to date, Harper has seen a higher percentage of fastballs — the pitch on which he does the most damage — than he ever did earlier in his career. His percentage of hard-hit balls, as tracked by Baseball Info Solutions, has spiked in turn. From the looks of the numbers, Harper is doing a much better job choosing when to swing than he did in the past — “hunting his pitches,” to echo a phrase frequently used by veteran MLB hitting coach Dave Hudgens.

Of course, there’s some chicken-and-eggery at play here. Harper, for his part, told the Washington Post earlier this month that the only difference has been his health:

“This is what I was like in high school and college,” said Harper, who twice had four-homer games at the College of Southern Nevada, where he hit 31 homers in 66 games in 2010. “That’s what people don’t understand. I was healthy. Staying healthy is what I need to do. This is the type of player I need to be and the type of player I want to be. Everybody talks about how I’m doing this different or I’m doing that different. There’s nothing different. It’s staying healthy and staying in the lineup. Truly….
“I feel like the approach, the plan, it’s always been there,” Harper said. “But I’m finally sticking to it because I’m not getting hurt and staying healthy. It’s allowing me to stay in the games every single day and staying with my routine every single day and not getting sidetracked because I’m hurt and out a game and play two and then out for a month and a half and come back and play.”

Could it be that good health and more regular reps alone have contributed to Harper’s apparently improved batting eye? Certainly. He obviously looks more comfortable at the plate than ever before, and it could easily be that the various ailments he sustained the last few years sapped some of his power or impacted his mechanics in a way that forced him to start swinging sooner.

On MLB Network, analyst Darryl Hamilton cued up video of Harper’s swing to show the slugger keeping his weight back longer this season to generate more power. But again, since Harper typically doesn’t say much about the particulars of his mechanics at the plate, it’s hard to know which of the adjustments he made were made possible by the better health he credits for the difference.

In any case, whatever has happened to Bryce Harper this season has now been happening long enough that it can no longer be dismissed as just a fluky early-season hot stretch. By whatever means or combination of them, Harper has become a more selective hitter in 2015, swinging less frequently and hitting the ball harder when he does.

And though this is not to slight Harper — who seems to know as much about baseball as anyone playing it — but it could be that the change plays out so subtly on the day-to-day that he himself is not even conscious of it. The difference between 3.9 and 4.4 pitches per plate appearance, after all, is less than one extra pitch across every two at-bats. Maybe Harper is just maturing as a hitter, seeing pitches better and hitting them harder as he grows bigger, faster, stronger and more experienced.
What we are watching, most likely, is a great young hitter blossoming into a great hitter. Harper may not maintain his Ruthian home-run rate and on-base percentage all year, but if he can stay healthy and maintain his apparently improved process, the Nationals should benefit from significantly improved results all season long.

Make Garrett Jones a St. Louis Cardinal

If it seems like I may or may not be picking on Garrett Jones today there is probably a pretty good reason for his, he deserves it. His stat line has been less than impressive, albeit in a small sample size, offensively and he adds almost zero to the team defensively making him a liability and a waste of a roster spot. You guys and girls know me by now, I’m not one to equivocate (words with friends for the win), and I don’t like to beat around the bush. The St. Louis Cardinals lost their everyday first baseman Matt Adams to a quad tear and the Yankees have a first baseman in Jones that they really don’t use or need, is it time to make a deal?

The Cardinals have Mark Reynolds, former New York Yankee, currently taking up the position and at worst Jones and Reynolds could platoon at the position giving the Cardinals enough offense and defense to get by until the trading deadline. The Cardinals could also use Jones in the outfield and off the bench against right handed hitters adding some much needed versatility to a team that loves versatile players.

In return I’m sure the Cardinals have some sort of bullpen pitcher or minor league power arm to give back to the Yankees that can make an immediate impact in New York. If not, who cares? Jones is off the team and the Yankees can upgrade in a trade, with another prospects call up or by keeping Slade Heathcott on the roster. It’s a win, win, win.

Twitter Poll: Jacob Lindgren Gets Used, True or False

We haven’t done one of these this week surprisingly, and I say surprisingly because I really enjoy doing these and so do the people that see their names and their tweets on the blog, so we will right that wrong today with another twitter poll. It seems like the Yankees manager Joe Girardi would only use his new lefty Jacob Lindgren in a blowout situation but I think I can be a little too emotional and pessimistic in these situations so I posed the question to you. Will the Yankees actually learn to trust Lindgren and use him in a non-blowout situation?

To be involved in our next twitter poll hop on over to the app and give @GreedyStripes a follow and be on the lookout for our next twitter poll. We will never use your responses without informing you first!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/29

The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics will play in the second game of their four game set this week inside the Oakland Coliseum. Tonight the Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound to face off with the Athletics lefty Sonny Gray. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Capuano has made two starts for the Yankees since returning from the disabled list and has not made it through five innings in either of them. Capuano gave up three runs, two of them earned, in his last start in 4.1 IP against the Texas Rangers, another loss for New York.

  • Gray was hit by a ball in his right ankle in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays which cause him to leave the start early. Gray was diagnosed with a bone contusion, also known as a bruise, after throwing five scoreless innings.

Which Capuano will we see tonight? Hopefully we see the former Capuano that kept the team in games last season and gave the team a chance to win and not the latter or the 2015 version we've seen to date. If it’s the former then the Yankees are in trouble with a tough pitcher on the mound in Gray while if it’s the latter then he can give the team length saving the bullpen while giving the team a chance to win every time. Again, let’s hope it’s the latter. Go Yankees!!

Yankees Should Trade Garrett Jones to Tampa Bay

The New York Yankees have played terribly of late, especially before the series sweep of the Kansas City Royals, let's not mince words, but have thankfully the team has managed to stick around in the American League East division race. The Tampa Bay Rays have struggled thankfully and have been hit from the injury bug recently including injuries to outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and first baseman James Loney. While the Yankees cannot be upset about the injury to Loney, a notorious Yankees killer, the team may be able to kill two birds with one stone while helping out the Rays at the same time by sending Garrett Jones in a trade to the Tampa Bay Rays for, well basically anything.

Jones has been terrible with New York, again let's not mince words, but has been a little better of late with the bat at least making him worth a potential trade for Tampa Bay. Jones is listed as a first baseman, the position that Loney has left vacated recently with his broken finger, and well as an outfielder, primarily a right fielder, and a part time pitcher giving Rays manager Kevin Cash a little to work with defensively. While Jones is not great offensively or defensively in either position by any means he may be a better option then what the team is currently employing at the position.The trade would give the Rays a warm body while giving the Yankees another automatic out in the Tampa Bay lineup with another defensive liability to pick on when these two teams face off head-to-head.

The Yankees will also benefit from an addition by subtraction as it would allow the team to keep Slade Heathcott on the major league roster even after Jacoby Ellsbury returns from the disabled list. Jones has been serving as the backup first baseman this season but with Chase Headley, Brian McCann, Alex Rodriguez and eventually Brendan Ryan on the roster as more than capable back up first base it won't be a huge deal offensively if Mark Teixeira needs a day off or two. With Chris Young, Heathcott and the rest of the Yankees outfield the team can give everyone ample playing time and can substitute for defense later into games for the aging Carlos Beltran by keeping Heathcott on the roster and removing Jones from the active roster with the trade.

I'm usually not for helping out an opposing team and a team that New York could potentially be chasing in the AL East division but this deal is a win-win for the Yankees. The team opens a roster spot up for a younger, better and more deserving player while potentially making the Rays worse overall both offensively and defensively. It reminds me a lot of what the Red Sox did to Brian Cashman last year when they traded the team Stephen Drew so he could suck it up last season and this season as well.

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Struggle against Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray is a good pitcher and has given the Yankees fits over his career with the Athletics and he will do just that again tonight inside the Oakland Coliseum. Gray will go at least six innings and give up two runs or less.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Weekly Check in: Robert Refsnyder

Robert Refsnyder is still in Triple-A, check. Stephen Drew still sucks, check. Jose Pirela is still rotting on the bench although he did kind of dig his own hole defensively at second base, check. Refsnyder is still tearing up Triple-A pitching at an incredible clip, check. Refsnyder’s defense is still suspect, check, but improving, check. If the team were not winning and were not in first place I think I would be a little more upset than I am but I hate the fact that the talent is masking the obvious bad decisions made by the manager and upper management, specifically when it comes to Refsnyder’s development. What’s another drum beating for our second baseman of the future, right?





This Day in New York Yankees History 5/29: Roger Clemens Strikes Out 10 Batters, Again

On this day in 2002 the New York Yankees Roger Clemens becomes the third major league pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters in at least 100 games. Nolan Ryan did it 215 times and Randy Johnson did it 175 times.

Also on this day in 2000 the Oakland Athletics second baseman, and former Yankee, Randy Velarde completed the tenth unassisted triple play in Major League history. The New York Yankees had runners on first and second when Shane Spencer hits a line drive to Velarde who catches the ball, tags out Jorge Posada, and then tagged Tino Martinez to complete the triple play. No, CC Sabathia was not on the mound for the play.

Finally on this day in 1997 the Hideki Irabu Era started in the Bronx with the New York Yankees. The Padres sent Irabu to the Yankees to complete an April 22nd trade that sent Gordon Amerson and Homer Bush to New York in exchange for Rafael Medina, Ruben Rivera, and $3 million. Irabu was purchased by the Padres from the Chiba Lotte Mariners in January but refused to sign with San Diego, or any team not named the Yankees. In three years Irabu compiled a 29-20 record and was called a fat toad by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner once, publicly.