Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics 7/7

The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics begin a three game series tonight in the Bronx with the Yankees currently occupying first place in the American League East. The Yankees will likely be buying at the July 31st trading deadline while Oakland sits in last place in the AL West Division and will likely be selling. First thing is first though as Nathan Eovaldi and Sonny Gray face off head-to-head this evening inside Yankee Stadium. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

You have three more opportunities to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog and to see the team at home inside Yankee Stadium before they make the trip to Fenway Park this weekend. The Yankees schedule is getting soft(er) so hopefully New York is ready to take advantage of that and put some space between them and the rest of the pack. Root on the Yankees either live buy getting your tickets off the blog or jump on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) to interact and root with us during each and every Yankees game.

Eovaldi is ready to make it four in a row and I'm ready to watch him do it, Go Yankees!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

Another week has gone by in the Major League Baseball season and another set of power rankings have been released by the crew over at the USA Today. Last week the Yankees fell a couple positions to the #10 position and head into this week fresh off losing two out of three to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before taking two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees had a pretty mediocre week which could result in another drop in the standings although I’m sure the team will take that if it means they remain in first place in the American League East Division.

We start off this week’s rankings the way we always do, with the top spot. The #1 team on the rankings is the St. Louis Cardinals, surprise, surprise. The worst team on the rankings once again is the Philadelphia Phillies, again another surprise, surprise. The Yankees climbed two spots from last week to the #8 position. The biggest rise this week went to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who climbed six spots to the #9 position while the biggest fall went to the San Francisco Giants who fell five spots all the way to the #12 position.

To round out the American League East Division the Baltimore Orioles finished their week at the #10 position while the Toronto Blue Jays finished at the #11 position. The Tampa Bay Rays fell 5 spots to the #14 position after losing two of three from the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox may be beginning their steady climb back into things while grabbing the #21 position.

The five best teams according to the rankings are the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals, the Houston Astros, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The five worst teams starting with # 26 are the Oakland Athletics followed by the Milwaukee Brewers, the Miami Marlins, the Colorado Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies.

We have officially passed the halfway mark of the season with all the teams surpassing 81 games so the sample size is real ladies and gentleman. Things can change a lot between now and the July 31st trading deadline which has snuck up on us and is now just three and a half weeks away, but for now this is how things are in the majors. It’s going to be a long and stressful summer in the AL East looking at the standings and looking at the power rankings and frankly, I can’t wait. 

Alex Rodriguez Deserved Better Than That

While all of this is subject to change both the American League and National League starters, reserves and pitchers have been announced and Alex Rodriguez is not an All-Star this season. Rodriguez, despite his 2014 suspension for his role in the Biogenesis Clinic and despite his use of steroids should have been an All-Star based on his numbers, not his morals, and frankly I believe Alex deserved better than that.

I’m not really all that upset about it only because I didn’t expect many people outside of New York to vote for him, I didn’t expect Ned Yost to choose him and after all the bridges he’s burnt I didn’t expect his peers to choose him, but he still deserved better than this. Rodriguez finished fifth in voting at the designated hitter position despite better numbers than the likes of David Ortiz and others on the list, although I do admit that Nelson Cruz absolutely should have won the starting nod there.

At the time of this writing Rodriguez was currently batting .284 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI just a few weeks short of his 40th birthday. That’s before mentioning that Alex missed most of the 2013 season with a second hip surgery and various lower leg injuries and the entire 2014 season due to suspension, this is the epitome of a “comeback” player of the year. Alex is halfway to his first full season since the 2007 season and is a 14 time All-Star but has not been named to the team since 2011, but he should have made it this season.

In my opinion I believe Alex is better than and more deserving than Kendrys Morales, Victor Martinez and Edwin Encarnacion, although a debate could be made with Encarnacion due to his power and RBI totals. Cruz had a .304 average with 21 home runs and 50 RBI at the time the voting ended and won the vote despite missing the final 50 games of 2013 due to the same Biogenesis fallout as Alex while the National League’s starting shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, was also suspended the final 50 games and was also named a starter in the game. If it’s good for one it’s good for all, no? Alex deserved better than that and he deserves better than this, although you won’t hear him say a word about it. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics 7/7

The New York Yankees series with the Tampa Bay Rays is over and so are the walk off's at least for now, although they could continue that strategy tonight in the Bronx when they play host to the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound looking for his fourth straight good start for the team while Sonny Gray opposes him for the Athletics. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Eovaldi is making his 17th start of the season tonight in the Bronx against the Oakland Athletics after a string of three straight impressive starts for the Yankees. Eovaldi has faced the Athletics three times in his career and sports an 0-1 record with a 5.60 ERA.

  • Gray is making his return to the mound tonight after fighting off salmonella poisoning last week where he missed two starts. Gray has a 9-3 record with a 2.09 ERA for one of the best records in the American League and has been one of the more dominant pitchers in the league this season. Gray shut down the Yankees in that first game of the series so hopefully the Yankees can learn from that first start and hit him hard tonight. 

The Yankees had a tough time of things the last time they faced off with the Athletics in Oakland handing the A's their first series win of the series. That was then, this is now. New York is fresh off a series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays where the team got their first two walk-off wins of the season and have all the momentum heading into the series, hopefully that helps. Go Yankees!

My Plan for the Return of Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller could be coming off the disabled list as soon as today after pitching in a rehab inning yesterday with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Miller, unlike a starting pitcher, does not have to be stretched out beyond 30 pitches or so and could conceivably be back in the Bronx and in the 9th inning for the Yankees tonight. With Miller coming back of course a roster move will need to be made, what will that roster move be though? Thankfully for New York and GM Brian Cashman, who undoubtedly reads my work, I have a plan.

Obviously the likes of Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve are locks to stay in the bullpen while Chris Capuano and Bryan Mitchell are potentially on the outside looking in so who do the Yankees choose? The young right hander who has impressed thus far, but has minor league options, or the veteran left hander who is no longer needed with Warren in the relief role? Does Capuano’s $5 million in salary that would have to be designated for assignment factor into the decision? In a word, yes.

We all know before even reading this and before reading the official decision by the Yankees that Mitchell is going down and Capuano is staying. It’s not right, it’s the wrong decision and it’s discouraging not only to Mitchell but to the Yankees fans as well but it’s going to happen. What’s my plan? Send Capuano a bottle of wine and a thank you card with his bus ticket to Triple-A after he’s designated and nobody claims him. That’s just me though, I like Mitchell a lot more and I think he is the final missing piece to a dominant bullpen puzzle. He’s right handed, he throws hard, he throws strikes and most importantly he has shown an ability to get major league hitters out on a consistent basis as a starter and as a relief pitcher.

With Mitchell in the pen I truly think the team could bring him along much like they did Warren and David Phelps in recent years by starting them in the bullpen and eventually giving them a chance to start and prove themselves. It won’t happen, it’s just a pipe dream I know, but it should and that’s my plan. Eat the $5 million for Capuano and send him down to Triple-A for the next time the team needs him. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Trade Robert Refsnyder

I’ve been saying it for months now. Robert Refsnyder seems discouraged and overall bored and “over-groomed” in Triple-A while the Yankees have shown no willingness to call him up despite his numbers. New York is going to trade him at the deadline.

Vote in our prediction poll on Knoda.com

Weekly Check In: Aaron Judge

Extra, extra, read all about it. Yankees finally becoming aggressive with their polished prospects. Aaron Judge may be a second half call up, especially with Carlos Beltran injured again. Extra, extra, read all about it. But really in all seriousness, it’s true. The Yankees are one injury away from seeing The Judge in the major leagues right now and while I’m never one to wish an injury on any team, especially the Yankees, I have to admit that I have the song “Wouldn’t it be Nice?” in my head right now. With Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Jacoby Ellsbury and Beltran on the disabled list the team has relied heavily on Ramon Flores and Taylor Dugas. Dugas was called up in an emergency situation while Flores was ineligible for a call up but if one more outfielder goes down the decision comes down to Dugas or Judge, and it will probably be Judge.

Judge has earned it so I don’t mean to make it sound like the Yankees had to lose half their outfield depth to make room for Judge because that’s the farthest thing from the case. Judge has dominated Double-A pitching with the Trenton Thunder and is well on his way in Triple-A leading the offensive charge with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Judge was drafted out of college and came along with one of the more polished bats in the draft meaning he likely won’t need the four or five, even six sometimes, seasons of seasoning in the minor leagues. The Judge is ready now and he may be in the Bronx before the calendar turns to 2016. 


This Day in New York Yankees History 7/7: FDR Throws Out First Pitch

Franklin D. Roosevelt was a big baseball fan and even threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the 1937 All Star Game becoming the first United States President to attend and All Star Game. The game was held at Washington's Griffith Stadium and FDR and fans were treated to the American League defeating the National League 8-3. The Yankees Lou Gehrig drove in four runs with a home run and a double in the game.