Friday, July 10, 2015

God Answers Prayers, Robert Refsnyder Being Called Up Saturday

I have no words. I've prepared myself for this day for so long.. and here it is... and I have no words.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox 7/10

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will begin their three game set tonight in just a few minutes here in Fenway Park. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda, and just Michael Pineda and his God given talents, to the mound to face off against the Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz. The game will be played at 7:15 pm ET and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV.

The Yankees have two more games before the All-Star break and they are both on the road inside Boston’s Fenway Park. If you’re in the Boston area I hear that Fenway Park is a pretty enjoyable place to watch a game so click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to get your Yankees tickets for the series. If you’re not in enemy territory then no problem simply jump on twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to root for the home team and interact with us during each and every Yankees game this season.

It’s Yankees/Red Sox so of course everyone is ready. Go Yankees!

Bryan Van Dusen on the Yanks Go Yard Radio Show Sunday

Just a quick programming note as we all settle in to watch tonight’s Yankees and Red Sox matchup tonight inside Fenway Park. The very popular Yanks Go Yard blog has contacted us here at The Greedy Pinstripes to be a part of their weekly radio show they do every Sunday night at 8:00 pm ET and we have accepted their offer. I was told that the subject would be a first half round table for the league but I expect it to be Yankees heavy between the two sites. The last time we were offered to come on a radio show I was present so I offered the opportunity to my co-owner Bryan Van Dusen. Bryan accepted and will be on the radio show this Sunday at 8:00 pm ET and I would really appreciate it if we showed some support for him and the blog by attending. HERE is the linkfor the Yanks Go Yard blog.

Let’s show the radio show some support, Bryan some support and show Yanks Go Yard what I already know to be true, that The Greedy Pinstripes have some of the smartest, most loyal and most passionate fans and followers around. It would mean the world to me, thank you in advance and be sure to check out the show. I’ll try and link the exact place you can listen live and where you can listen after the fact as well. 

What Will I Write About Once Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi Are Gone?

Brian Cashman is a mysterious man that makes a lot of big and mysteries decisions sometimes. Isn’t there at least one or two guys on the roster every single year that you kind of shake your head about and wonder why they are even in the major leagues, especially on a high profile team like the New York Yankees? You have Stephen Drew and Chris Capuano this year and for half of 2014, you had Alfonso Soriano for the first half of 2014, you had Vernon Wells in 2013 and you had Raul Ibanez for every month not named October in 2012. You also have the trades that make you scratch your head, Tyler Clippard for Jonathan Albaladejo anyone? Anyone? Cashman is a mysterious and a very, very frustrating individual at times.

Joe Girardi, Joe Girardi and that stupid binder of his. Girardi and his obsession with stacking left handed hitters in a lineup against a right handed pitcher. Girardi and his sometimes short hook for his starting pitchers that are doing well and Girardi with his line that has just a little too much slack at other times for those same starting pitchers who obviously don’t have it anymore that night. Girardi and his Circle of Trust and his dependence on veterans like Stephen Drew and Capuano when he has more than serviceable and comparable options already on the bench rotting away six days a week. The way Girardi likes to “ride the hot hand” of players like Garrett Jones and the way he continues to stick up for and make excuses for others, if Lou Gehrig was the luckiest man in the world Stephen Drew is the unluckiest man on the face of the Earth.

There is an old saying, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. We all complain about Hal Steinbrenner as the Yankees owner but it could be worse, we could have Jeffrey Loria. Fans out there complain about Cashman but what if the Yankees had a GM like the Mets have in Sandy Alderson that just can’t seem to find a way to plug the holes on the team and can’t find that player to get the team over the hump. Yankees fans want Girardi’s head and iPad (binder) on a torch in front of Yankee Stadium but what if the team had Bobby Valentine or (fill in the blank here because I’m sure you get the message by now) wearing fake mustaches and thinking he’s Buck Showalter when he’s more like Bobby Show-killer.

Steinbrenner, Cashman and Girardi are good for business. They are frustrating, they go against logical thinking and they just plain ole don’t make sense sometimes. It’s frustrating as a fan but it makes it so much easier to be the arm chair quarterback as a blogger. Keep being you guys, “Daddy’s gotta eat.” I don’t actually get paid to blog but it sounded good… stay with me. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox 7/10

Rivalry renewed. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will face off head-to-head tonight in the first of a three game weekend series inside Boston’s Fenway Park. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound so be grateful that the game is not on ESPN, I’m not sure I could handle three more hours of “Pine Gate” discussion by John Kruk and Curt Schilling. The Red Sox will counter Pineda with starter Clay Buchholz. The game will be played at 7:15 pm ET and can be seen on the WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV.

  • Pineda will be making his 17th start of the season tonight inside Fenway Park and his fifth against the Boston Red Sox in his career. Pineda has a 2-2 record against Boston with a no-decision in the pine tar game I’m sure we’ll hear all about if we listen to ESPN, MLB Network or the NESN broadcast. Pineda looks to improve on his 8-5 record and 3.79 ERA with a bounce back start tonight in Fenway.

  • Buchholz has been the team’s best starter this season, which is not saying much, and has been much better of late, which should worry the Yankees. In his last 10 starts Buchholz has posted a 5-2 record with a 1.99 ERA as Boston continues to try and climb back into the AL East discussion. Buchholz was pitching the last time the Yankees came to Fenway Park and swept the Red Sox and gave up nine earned runs in just 3.1 IP on that Sunday night ESPN broadcast.

The fiercest and most hated rivalry in all of sports has been watered down a bit in recent years with down years for both teams but the rivalry is the rivalry and it is still Yankees vs. Red Sox. The Yankees are in first place in a well-contested American League East while the Boston Red Sox are in last place in the division with only a handful of games separating the two. This is a big series for both teams as a sweep for the Red Sox gets them right back in the thick of things while a Yankees sweep may be the final nail in the coffin in Boston’s season. I may be greedy but I’m not ridiculous, I’ll take a series victory and that series victory begins tonight. Go Yankees!

Robert Refsnyder Wasting At Bats in Triple-A

If you follow us on Twitter you know that I have no love-loss for the Yankees second baseman, Stephen Drew. If you’re not following @GreedyStripes on Twitter then it’s likely that you miss out on four or five “Stephen Drew Sucks” tweets a night because I’ve made it my mission to tweet that after every out he makes or error he commits. As a fan of this team and as a fan that spends his money on Yankees jersey’s Yankees tickets, Yankees memorabilia, MLB TV subscriptions and such frankly I’m disgusted and I’m fed up. The Mendoza Line is being moved down from .200 to .175 and being named the Stephen Drew Line for crying out loud. Drew is really one of the best 750 players in Major League Baseball right now?

Jose Pirela is currently the Yankees backup second baseman and as much as I clamored for the guy last season he hasn’t exactly made me look good in 2015. Pirela’s defense has been atrocious, I’ll say it, while Drew’s has been above average and Pirela hasn’t done much to press the issue on the offensive side of the ball either forcing the Yankees to keep Drew in the lineup five days a week hitting in the 9th hole. I know the guy is making a monstrous, and I say this with the utmost sarcasm, $5 million this season but there are better options simply being wasted away in Triple-A, his name is Robert Paulson Refsnyder.

I’ve seen so many ridiculous tweets over this calendar year regarding Refsnyder as a below average defender with a miniscule improvement offensively but I vehemently disagree. The defense means nothing to me when the incumbent’s offense resembles that of a blind and crippled senior from the nursing home taking at bats for the local high school’s JV Baseball team. Neither does Drew’s 11 home runs on a team that fails to string hits together, manufacture runs and score many runs outside of the long ball. Waiting on the three run home run doesn’t work over the course of 162 and beyond. We’ve seen it far too many times and I thought the team was getting away from that. Drew brings that home run or die mentality and at this point the Yankees offense is dying.

Refsnyder not only brings a very much improved defense to the club, something all those tweeters are not exactly pointing out any more conveniently, a right handed bat that can even out a very left handed heavy lineup, average hitting, power hitting and power to the gaps, young legs and speed. In 77 games in Triple-A last year Refsnyder batted .300/.389/.456 with an OPS of .845 while hitting eight home runs and driving in 33 RBI. Refsnyder did strike out 67 times but he walked 41 times which more than made up for it. In 2015 thus far in 78 games, at the time of this writing, Refsnyder is batting .290/.388/.414 with an OPS of .802. Ref has hit seven home runs thus far and has drove in 36 RBI in a very pitching friendly PNC Park while walking 43 times and striking out just 44 times. Refsnyder has three less doubles, 16 to 19, in 2015 than he did in 2014 and has stolen nine more bases this season.

So to those who keep stating that Refsnyder is struggling or not putting the pressure on Drew and Brian Cashman this season after a great 2014 campaign, you’re wrong. If you were beating the drum for Refsnyder in the Bronx in 2014, and lord knows I was leading the marching band in that deparment, then you should be in 2015 as well. Maybe more so this season. Drew is a black hole at the bottom of the lineup and a black hole in the Yankees lineup. Refsnyder continues the youth movement around Major League Baseball and in the Bronx while being a sight for sore eyes in many Yankees fans eyes. Hal Steinbrenner wants ratings and attendance? Bring the fans what they want and something entertaining to watch because this offense goes to sleep after the first three innings. Brian Cashman wants to keep payroll down? Stop paying veterans who suck $5 million when you comparable or far superior players in the minor leagues. Joe Girardi wants victories? Stop playing Drew and start playing Refsnyder. I hate starting a Friday morning pissed off but this is how I feel and I can’t keep it bottled in anymore.

Refsnyder – 2016

Meet a Prospect: Cole Figueroa

Cole Figueroa was called up before the finale of the game between the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics while the Yankees sent Jose Pirela down to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Why the Yankees flat out refuse to use Robert Refsnyder in these situations and what they have against the man is beyond me but whatever, more on that later as promised.

Stephen Coleman Figueroa was born on June 30, 1987 to parents Cindy and Bien Figueroa and spent his college career at the University of Florida playing on the Gators baseball team. Figueroa was the starting shortstop for the team and impressed many teams there including the San Diego Padres who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2008 MLB First Year Players Draft. Figueroa was also drafted in the ninth round of the 2006 Draft but elected to not sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, seems like that was a good decision for him.

Figueroa hoped that his father’s baseball blood, Bien is a former major league player with the St. Louis Cardinals, would translate to a great career with the Padres but the team traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays on December 17, 2010. San Diego received Jason Bartlett while trading Figueroa, Brandon Gomes, Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell to Tampa. Figueroa saw his first major league at bat on May 22, 2014 after the Rays called him up and recorded his first major league hit on May 23, a walk off RBI double against the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the 9th inning.

That to date is the highlight of Figueroa’s career as he is now a member of the New York Yankees big league club. Good luck Cole, make the most of the opportunity. 

Weekly Check in: Robert Refsnyder

We have more on Robert Refsnyder a little later so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Stephen Drew sucks, I’ve said it numerous times throughout the course of his Yankees tenure and I will continue to say it until his Yankees career comes to a close. The Yankees are in a unique situation this season where they can add and upgrade to their team pretty much more than any other team in the month of July without selling off top prospects. The Yankees are in first place in the American League East Division and just added closer Andrew Miller and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the team and now have one more glaring hole to address, second base.

Refsnyder is light years ahead of Drew offensively and quickly closing the gap defensively on the Yankees incumbent second baseman. When you have a great first baseman in Mark Teixeira and a shortstop with a ton of range and speed that can cheat an extra step or two to his left in Didi Gregorius the Yankees wouldn’t miss that much defensively. Not to take all the blame off Refsnyder but you have to remember that the first baseman he is throwing to in the minor leagues, Kyle Roller, is here for his offense. His defense is borderline atrocious and he lacks the special sort of defense that Teixeira harnesses at first base every day. How many errors, hits and runs does Teixeira save every single season with his defense?

Refsnyder wouldn’t be Willie Randolph at second base but I don’t think he would be a young and promising Derek Jeter defensively either. Drew’s days are numbered, that much is clear, but whether the team signs another player to block Refsnyder or if the year of the prospect continues remains to be seen. Let’s hope for the latter.


This Day in New York Yankees History 7/10: Tanaka’s Torn Elbow Ligament

On this day in 2014 the New York Yankees learned that ace starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka had a partially torn ligament in his right throwing elbow. Tanaka’s UCL was less than 10% torn and five doctors including Tommy John surgery expert Dr. James Andrews suggested that a rest and rehab program could prolong him needing the surgery.

Also on this day in 2001 Derek Jeter became the first Yankee to hit a home run in an All Star Game in 42 years when he hit a sixth inning leadoff home run off Jon Lieber at Safeco Field in Seattle. Yogi Berra was the last member of the Yankees to hit an All Star Game homer when he hit one off Don Drysdale in 1959.

The New York Yankees, like most teams in baseball back in 1917, had pitchers that were known for throwing the spitball. No Yankee was more known for the now illegal pitch than Ray Caldwell and he had the spitter working on this day in 1917. Caldwell pitched 9.2 innings of relief and did not allow a single hit as the Yankees beat the St. Louis Browns 7-5 in 17 innings.

Caldwell would throw a no hitter against his former team, the Indians, in 1919 against Tris Speaker and the Tribe. Caldwell was also one of 17 pitchers that was allowed to continue throwing the spitball after the pitch was outlawed in 1920.