Saturday, May 30, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/30

Another day and another late night start for the New York Yankees as they travel to the Oakland Coliseum to take on the Oakland Athletics. This is the third game of a four game set with the finale coming tomorrow afternoon in a day game. At least tonight’s start that showcases Nathan Eovaldi facing off with Jesse Hahn is on a Saturday and I can catch most, if not all, of the game. The contest will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees are still about a week away from returning home to the Bronx so you have no excuses not to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog and have your Yankees tickets in hand when the team returns home to Yankee Stadium. If not, no biggie, just join us on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and/or on the comments section of the site to arm-chair quarterback like the rest of us.

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

Girardi: Yankees are lucky to be in first place

After watching them drop a second straight game to the A's, it's easy to wonder if the Yankees deserve their first-place spot in the standings.

The club -- now just 25-24 following a 4-12 stretch -- has struggled both offensively and rotation-wise of late, leading many to believe luck is the reason for their early success.

Many including Joe Girardi, apparently, with the manager saying Friday the slumping Yanks are fortunate to be where they are.

"I think so," Girardi told The LoHud Yankees Blog. "Especially the way we've struggled the last two weeks."

The Yankees had lost 10 of 11 prior to this week's sweep of the Royals, and with the Orioles beginning to look better, they need to improve soon.

New York will visit the surging Mariners on Monday, a matchup that doesn't appear to favor them. Seattle has not been defeated in a home series since April 24-26, when the surprise Twins won 2/3.

The AL East remains one of baseball's weakest divisions, however, so the Yankees still have an opportunity to turn it around.

"Our division right now is up for grabs," Girardi said. "We need to take advantage of that."

While We Wait: Brewers Go High Tech for Bud Selig Tribute

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers are giving retired baseball commissioner and former team owner Bud Selig a high-tech tribute.

"The Selig Experience" attraction at Miller Park was unveiled to Selig, current Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and other dignitaries on Thursday night. Selig described the exhibit as an "out-of-body experience."

"When I look at all this, I say to you all, 'Boy, have I been lucky,'" Selig said on a stage set in center field set against the backdrop of the team's giant video board. The Brewers were off on Thursday.

Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Joe Torre and Robin Yount attended the event, along with Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy, University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, and current MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

The highlight of the attraction is a remarkably realistic, hologram-like video of Selig displayed at the end of a nearly 15-minute multimedia presentation recapping the history of the franchise.

"I'm telling you that when I saw it, I couldn't believe it," Selig marveled.

The holographic Selig speaks in a scene replicating his messy office at old County Stadium, with a simulated Tiparillo cigar lying smoldering in an ashtray.

"Bud, this ensures your spirit will live forever at Miller Park," Attanasio said during a dedication ceremony.

Selig's title is now "commissioner emeritus" after a tenure of 22½ years as baseball's leader ended in January.

His place in Milwaukee baseball history was cemented long before he became commissioner.

Now 80, Selig led efforts to bring baseball back to his hometown after Milwaukee lost the Braves to Atlanta after the 1965 season. He finally succeeded in 1970, when the Seattle Pilots moved to the Midwest and became the Brewers.

The exhibit starts with video walls of old Brewers baseball cards. Visitors then pass Selig's replica office before entering a memorabilia-lined room.

Included are the lineup cards for the Brewers and visiting Cincinnati Reds from April 6, 2001, the day that Miller Park opened. Selig also led the drive to build the retractable-roof stadium.

The park isn't quite as high tech as the exhibit's life-like hologram of Selig, who appears thanking fans before the video closes with him shuffling his hands into his khaki pants.

Selig said he spent four hours posing during spring training in Phoenix for the hologram.

"When I saw the hologram, I would say my heart went in my mouth," Attanasio joked. "I knew it was coming. It was like going to a scary movie."

The exhibit opens to the public Friday, when the Brewers open a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

MLB: Top 10 Highest Paid Players in 2015

The owner of the New York Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner, has felt compelled to defend his "cheap" stance multiple times since taking over control of the team from his father, George Steinbrenner, by quickly pointing out the Yankees payroll annually. While ignoring the fact that many of the deals that Hal is using as examples for not being cheap were signed under George's regime the son of The Boss may or may not have some backing when looking at the Top 10 highest paid players in all of Major League Baseball for the 2015 season.

Here's the list:

1. Clayton Kershaw - $31 million - Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Justin Verlander - $28 million - Detroit Tigers
3. Zack Greinke - $27 million - Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Ryan Howard - $25 million - Philadelphia Phillies
5. Cliff Lee - $25 million - Philadelphia Phillies
6. Felix Hernandez - $24.85 million - Seattle Mariners
7. Albert Pujols - $24 million - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
8. Robinson Cano - $24 million - Seattle Mariners
9. Prince Fielder - $24 million - Texas Rangers
10. CC Sabathia - $24 million - New York Yankees

This is surprisingly not a very Yankee heavy list with the only member of the team, Sabathia, being signed by George, not Hal. Is Hal cheap or not? You decide.

I'm Beginning to Worry about Jacoby Ellsbury

On May 19th the New York Yankees lost Jacoby Ellsbury to a knee injury that he suffered while swinging the bat, while that was right at 11 days ago now it feels like it's been much longer. Almost 11 days later now I haven't even seen a definitive diagnosis let alone a timetable for his return to the Yankees lineup and outfield. Anyone else starting to worry about Ellsbury, his knee and how long he may be out with this injury? I know I am...

The Yankees have a habit of downplaying these types of injuries so excuse me if Joe Girardi's "hopes" that the team will have him back within a month doesn't instill the faith in me. Ellsbury is a speedy type defender and a base stealer meaning that any potential leg injury could really affect his season and the way he plays the game. With the team not coming out and saying this is strained or this is torn or this needs surgery I am beginning to worry that the team is using the recent hot streak as a way to mask and avoid the questions regarding the injury. 

While I'm all for giving the Yankees prospects a chance in situations like this, and I am glad to see Slade Heathcott getting his cup of coffee as much as I would be if Ramon Flores, Mason Williams or Ben Gamel were getting their chances, I still want Ellsbury hitting at the top of my order if I am filling out the lineup card. Tell me something, I'm beginning to worry.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/30

Tonight the New York Yankees make their third trip out of four to the Oakland Coliseum to take on Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics. There has been plenty of pitching to go around thus far in the series as the spacious Oak. Co. has lived up to the hype of being a pitcher’s park this season. Tonight pitching for the Yankees is Nathan Eovaldi who is surely to benefit from all that extra foul ground and the spacious outfields while he is taking on Jesse Hahn and the A’s. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

  • Eovaldi had possibly his best start in pinstripes last time out when he pitched into the 8th inning on Memorial Day against the Kansas City Royals. Eovaldi allowed just one run in the start and will look to build on that in his start tonight against the Athletics, a team he has faced just two times in his short major league career.

  • Hahn is coming off possibly his best start of the season last time out where he tossed a four-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory on Memorial Day over the Detroit Tigers. The RHP has allowed five earned runs in his last three starts combined dropping his ERA from 4.73 to 3.69.

The Yankees have one more contest with the Athletics tomorrow afternoon before jumping on a plane to face off with King Felix, Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees schedule softens up as we enter the month of June which can’t be a bad thing for the Bronx Bombers going forward. Take advantage, go Yankees!!

Yankees Dominican Summer League Rosters

by: Ben Embry

The Dominican Summer League starts today.  Like previous years, the Yankees will be fielding two teams.  As you'll recall, New York invested over $30 million in several international free agents, (IFA for short), last July in an unprecedented spending spree.   By most accounts, New York signed 10 of the top 30 IFA, including highly touted prospects SS/3B Dermis Garcia, CF/RF Juan de Leon, and 3B Nelson Gomez.  Of the 10 elite prospects signed, all but Dermis Garcia and 18 year old Korean SS Hy-Joon Park are starting their summers in the Dominican, (see the rosters here: DSL Yankees 1 and DSL Yankees 2).  Here are the main prospects:

DSL Yankees 1
SS Diego Castillo
SS Wilkerman Garcia
3B Nelson Gomez

DSL Yankees 2
C Miguel Flames
RF Jonathan Amundaray
CF Antonio Arias
CF/RF Juan de Leon
RF/LF Brayan Emery

Honestly, I expected most of these players to begin their careers in the United States playing in the Gulf Coast League.  That season does not start for another 2-3 weeks, so I guess it's possible that they will play a handful of games here before coming up to the GCL.  However, most of  the times prospects play whole seasons in the Dominican and do not make that transition in the middle of a season.  If anything, I'm guessing anybody who comes up will do so in July or August.

There are a handful of other prospects on these rosters worth noting, including two prospects who made my Preseason top 30 lists for hitters and pitchers: #30 hitter SS Yonauris Rodriguez and #29 SP Orby Tavares.  The Yankees signed 8 other players last summer to 6 figure contracts that I will be tracking this summer: C Jason Lopez, CF Lisandro Blanco, RF Leobaldo Cabrera, RF/LF Frederick Cuevas, and CF Pablo Olivares on DSL Yankees 1 and SS/2B Griffin Garabito, SS Danienger Perez, and CF Raymundo Moreno on DSL Yankees 2.

Keith Law's Mock 2015 MLB Draft

Keith Law is not a name and a source that I generally trust when it comes to prospects only because of his dislike for certain New York prospects, namely Luis Severino, but when he talks about the MLB First Year Player's Draft I tend to put my differences aside. Law knows the MLB Draft as well as or better than most so when he released his 2015 MLB Mock Draft V 2.0 I felt compelled to read and then leave that here for you to read as well. As we all know the Yankees have three picks in the first 60 or so picks and an absolute ton of cap space to spend on their picks this season. The Yankees related results are below only since the article requires subscriptions. Enjoy as much as you can and if you like it then go buy a subscription because Law puts in a ton of work into these mock drafts and generally everything that he does.

With the Yankees first pick, 16th overall, Law has the Yankees taking California High School LHP Kolby Allard after having the team take Pennsylvania High School RHP Mike Nikorak in his first mock version. Allard was considered to be the best left handed arm in the draft before missing two months this season with a stress reaction in his back that caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Allard has two plus pitches with a fastball that can touch 96 MPH and a tight curveball to go along with his raw changeup. Allard has a smaller build, think Severino, and may need to go to the bullpen before his career is said and done.

With the 30th pick the team may be interested in California High School catcher Chris Betts, New York High School outfielder Garrett Whitley or Tennessee High School RHP Donny Everett.

TGP Daily Poll: Mr. Eovaldi Shows His Ugly Mug

I have made a running joke about the inconsistency of Nathan Eovaldi this season calling him Dr. Jekyll when he pitches poorly and Mr. Eovaldi when he pitches well. Tonight in Oakland I think we will see Mr. Eovaldi mow down some Athletics.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Weekly Check in: Jorge Mateo

Jorge Mateo may still be the best shortstop on the Yankees, major leagues and minor leagues included, despite still being in the lower levels of the Yankees system. Mateo defends well, takes his walks, runs the bases well, steals bases and has what seems to be a great general baseball IQ. One thing that was not mentioned was the hitting aspect of his game, something he still needs to work on if he wants to be more than a speedy Brendan Ryan in his career.

You can see what I mean with the Ryan comparisons by looking at this stat line: 


This Day in New York Yankees History 5/30: A Rod in the Middle of a Controversy

On this day in 2007 in Toronto a Jorge Posada pop out falls in between Howie Clark and John McDonald allowing Alex Rodriguez to score on the play. A Rod yelled that he got it while running by and tricked both the Blue Jays infielders in a "Bush League" move.

Also on this day in 2001 when the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry was possibly at its highest and Pedro Martinez spoke up about the Curse of the Bambino? If you don't it was after Martinez ended a streak of five straight losses against New York and was making light of the curse. Martinez states that he wished someone would wake up Babe Ruth so he could drill him with a pitch. Long story short the Red Sox would not beat the Yankees again during the final seven meetings of the 2001 season. But there was no curse, the Red Sox just sucked for 86 years... right.

Also on this day in 1992 the Yankees Scott Sanderson beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-1 to become the ninth pitcher to defeat all 26 teams in the major leagues at the time. Sanderson joins Nolan Ryan, Tommy John, Don Sutton, Mike Torrez, Rick Wise, Gaylord Perry, Doyle Alexander, and Goose Gossage with the feat.

Also on this day in 1956 Mickey Mantle came within 18 inches of becoming the first player to hit a home run out of Yankee Stadium. The blast came off the Washington Senators Pedro Ramos and the ball was still climbing when it hit the facade in the upper right field stands.

Also on this day in 1938 the Yankees set a new record for attendance at Yankee Stadium drawing 81,841 fans in a double header with the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees would win both games sweeping the Red Sox in the double bill.

Also on this day in 1935 Babe Ruth, a member of the Boston Braves, plays in his last major league game of his career. Ruth, at Baker Bowl, does not get in a hit in his first inning at bat against the Phillies. On June 2 of that year the former Yankee All Star and super star would call it a career officially.

Also on this day in 1934 the Yankees Ben Chapman broke up Earl Whitehill's no hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. This is significant because in the 1933 season Chapman, albeit provoked, hit Whitehill with a punch in the passageway causing a 20 minute brawl that needed the police to restore order. I guess he broke something up twice, huh?

Finally on this day in 1932 the New York Yankees honored former manager Miller Huggins in a pre-game ceremony. The former Yankees manager died near the end of last season and had received a plaque in his memory. The Yankees would sweep both games in the double header with the Boston Red Sox.