Friday, August 21, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians 8/21

I have said this more than once but there isn't a better way to spend a Friday night in my very humble and very biased opinion than to watch the New York Yankees play baseball. Whether you're still filing your way into the Bronx and Yankee Stadium or whether you're sitting at home ready to watch the game from afar this is the best way to kick off a weekend, well as long as the team wins anyway. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound looking for that victory while Carlos Carrasco will be on the mound for Cleveland looking to oppose Tanaka. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network or MLB TV. 

The Yankees finished off HOPE Week capping off another great week by the organization and look to cap off another great week with another victory tonight. Click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to grab a pair of tickets for this weekend's series with Cleveland. If you can't make it to the Bronx then jump on Twitter ad gives us a follow, @GREEDYSTRIPES, where we root on the team from afar each and every game for the remainder of this season. 

Happy Tanaka Day, it's #TANAKATIME. Go Yankees!

Scranton/Wilkes Barre Releases 2016 Schedule

Chase Utley, Could the Yankees Have Done It?

I think it's always interesting to watch sites like MLB Trade Rumors around the July and August months of the Major League season. It's always interesting to see who your team is going to acquire, who your rival is going to trade, who is going to clear waivers and when a big trade is pulled off for a player your team was interested in I think it's interesting to see if your team could have pulled off a similar trade. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired a player the Yankees were said to be scouting and interested in on Wednesday night when the team sent prospects in exchange for Chase Utley and cash considerations. Could the Yankees have pulled this trade off?

This trade screams Brian Cashman special to me, a salary dump for an aging veteran and contract that will expire at the end of the season. The Dodgers acquired Utley and roughly $3.7 million in cash in exchange for minor league players Darnell Sweeney and John Richy. Richy, 23 years old, was the team's 3rd round pick in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft and was the team's 29th best prospect while Sweeney was ranked as the team's 13th best prospect.

Richy projects to be a back-end of the rotation starter while Sweeney looks to be a fringe prospect that has experience in the middle infield and in center field. The Yankees could have traded away one of Jake Cave or Ben Gamel, both of who need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft in 2016, and one of many starting pitchers that no one would blink an eye at to acquire Utley. The real question is not whether the team could have acquired him or not, they absolutely could have, but it is whether he would have added that much to the team.

Utley was batting .217/.284/.333 at the time of the trade including an effective month of August where he slashed .484/.485/.742 in 31 plate appearances. Utley seems to be past the ankle injury that will keep his vesting option for the 2016 season from triggering and Utley seems like he, or anyone, would be an upgrade over Stephen Drew right now. It's hard to say whether he can keep up his batting line for the remainder of the season or whether he will fall back under the Mendoza Line but all in all this still looks like a good non-trade for the Yankees. Drew is superior on the defensive side and has much more power than Utley, 15 home runs for Drew vs. just five for Utley, making him the better option for the team... unfortunately.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians 8/21

The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians continue their four game set this weekend with the Bronx, New York playing host to the teams. The Yankees are hot and are riding high on the backs of their pitching and their young players which is a sight for sore eyes for most Yankees fans. The Yankees look to keep the good times rolling tonight when they send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to face off with the Indians Carlos Carrasco. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Tanaka heads into this start looking for his 10th victory of the season and his first victory against the Cleveland Indians in his career. Tanaka has only started against Cleveland once in his career and heads into this second start fresh off a complete game victory over the Toronto Blue Jays with eight strikeouts. 

  • Carrasco was nearly dealt at the July 31st trading deadline but Cleveland decided to hold onto their right-handed pitcher and have reaped the benefits since. Since the All-Star break Carrasco has posted a 2.51 ERA with a .163 batting average against making him a tough matchup for any opposing team's offense. 

These Yankees and Indians play two more afternoon games this weekend inside Yankee Stadium so this weekend has all the makings of being very frustrating for New York or very successful. The Indians could be 0-159 but those final three games of the season against the Yankees would likely be their best three games they played all season, always happens like that. New York needs victories though with Toronto breathing down their necks so let's hope they get another tonight in the Bronx. Go Yankees!

Comparing Nathan Eovaldi to Matt Harvey? Say What?

The New York Yankees and Nathan Eovaldi, with a little help from Greg Bird, were able to lock down a series sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx. With the victory Eovaldi was able to lock down his 13th win of the season for the team, easily a team high. In our comments section of the site, which you should check out in my opinion because it's growing every day and there are some great minds and fans in there, from Day One of the Eovaldi trade some have been against the trade and some have shown some patience. I personally was always on the "patience" bandwagon because Eovaldi was showcased as a work in progress and has been a work in progress this season. He's been up and he's been down but the good news for the Yankees is he's been more up than down in the past few months.

With every bad Eovaldi start you have the "I told you so's" flying while you have much of the same during every good start from Nathan. The biggest complaints on Eovaldi this season have been the run support he's received and his lack of length that he is giving the team and quite often he has been compared, however loosely, to Matt Harvey in the comments section. In no way, shape or form does anyone think Eovaldi is on the same level playing field  but the running comment always was something along the lines of "give Matt Harvey seven runs of run support a game and he would have a lot of wins too." That's a valid point I guess, he hasn't received a ton of run support (4.1) that Eovaldi has (5.5) according to the RS/GS (run support per game started) stat on Baseball Reference, but the good thing about sabermetrics is there are plenty of stats to quantify a pitchers performance.

FIP, or fielding independent pitching, takes out everything that the pitcher cannot control including run support, defense, unearned runs, etc. and gives you the true value of a pitcher. I posted this in the comments section but I wanted to bring this stat to the attention of a broader audience who may or may not have seen the comment.

Eovaldi's FIP - 3.52 in 136 IP (+0.72 difference in ERA)
Harvey's FIP - 3.41 in 154 IP (-0.84 difference in ERA)

FYI, the lower the FIP the better. Eovaldi is not Harvey and he's not the true ace that Harvey is but he may not be the "water pistol" that some have called him this season. He, according to this stat anyway, has been quietly having one of the better seasons in the American League. Eovaldi isn't Harvey and with this team and he doesn't have to be but he's been great for the Yankees this season and I don't think many can argue that.

Leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section.

Quick Hit: Michael Pineda Rehab Assignment Continues Tonight

Michael Pineda is set to make his second rehab start tonight as he works his way back from a strained forearm muscle in his right arm. Pineda's first start came with the Double-A Trenton Thunder and it was thought that Pineda's start could possibly be a "one and done" type start that propelled him back to the big league rotation. New York instead opted to let Pineda start tonight in Triple-A for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders.

Whether this decision happened because everyone is pitching so well in the rotation or whether the team thought they needed to stretch Pineda out more remains to be seen but I have to say I am in agreement with the team's decision. We saw the ill effects of what rushing a player back from a rehab assignment could do with Jacoby Ellsbury earlier in the season so it's good that the team is giving Pineda all the time he needs.

Pineda threw 42 pitches in his first rehab start so he will likely be good for around 60-70 pitches tonight for Scranton.

Weekly Check In: Robert Refsnyder

Robert Refsnyder has his eye on the prize and that prize is evidently going to be a call up to the Major Leagues on September 1st. In my opinion Refsnyder has done everything he needed to do and then some to warrant a call up before then but the team is committed to sticking with Stephen Drew and his 15 home run power. You know where I stand on the matter and I won't use yet another blog post to rant and rave about how Refsnyder should be here, Drew should be on the bench and Brendan Ryan should be gone.

Mike Francesa, take that with a grain of salt, stated on his radio show that he had "sources" telling him that Refsnyder was in Triple-A due to his attitude problems. Francesa also told us that Michael Pineda had a very serious elbow injury according to those same sources when it turned out he had a forearm strain and is less than two weeks away from returning. I don't believe him or his sources and if it turns out that Refsnyder does have an attitude problem, so what? It's not an attitude, it's called emotion. He wants to win, he wants to be in the big leagues and he has a fire in him that we're not used to seeing since Derek Jeter kept everyone in check in front of the media. 

The Derek Jeter Effect is over and Refsnyder wants to win. That's not an attitude, that's called a desire to win and the will to be a member of the New York Yankees. Bring him up. 



This Day In New York Yankees History 8/21: Boston Massacre

On this day in 2006 the Yankees held the second Boston Massacre when sweeping a five game series in Fenway Park burying the Red Sox that season. After the five game sweep, the first since 1943, the Sox found themselves 6.5 games behind in the AL East and four games behind in the wild card race.

Also On this day in 1931 Babe Ruth becomes the first player in Major League history to hit 600 career home runs.