Sunday, September 20, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ New York Mets 9/20

Thank goodness for MLB.TV's radio broadcasts so you can mute the ESPN crew and listen to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. If I was to listen to ESPN I could hear it now, John Kruk will work up the New York Mets and Matt Harvey as World Series winners instead of the contenders they are and he would hand Harvey the NL Cy Young Award now. It is high, it is far, it is... caught by the second baseman in short right field but it's still better than listening to the blatantly obvious bias given out by the ESPN crew. Anyway, tonight the Yankees and Mets finish off the Subway Series with CC Sabathia heading to the mound to face off against Matt Harvey and his innings limit. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

The Yankees will play until nearly midnight tonight and then have to travel to Toronto before tomorrow night's contest with David Price and the Toronto Blue Jays, thank you MLB schedulers and thank you ESPN. Be sure to give @GreedyStripes a follow on Twitter to rant and rave about it while rooting for the Yankees all the way to the postseason.

Sabathia is ready to roll and so are the Yankees. Go Yankees!

Masahiro Tanaka to Miss Next Start w/ Injury

And the absolute worst possible timing for injuries continues to happen to the New York Yankees.

Masahiro Tanaka tried to lay down a bunt in his last start against the New York Mets and felt something pull in his hamstring. Tanaka was sent for an MRI after complaining about it in the Yankees dugout and a Grade I strain was found in the scan. Tanaka was able to pitch five more innings and pitched well before being pinch hit for and asked to pitch Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Joe Girardi, naturally, wants to play it safe and will instead start Ivan Nova on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays instead of Tanaka.


While We Wait:By the numbers: A break is (almost) always good for A-Rod

While we wait on tonight's Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN I wanted to take an opportunity to bring you a great article written by Chad Jennings over at Lohud. Jennings looks at Alex Rodriguez in this article to see whether the days off the Yankees have been giving him, like the three games in a National League park against the Mets and the off day on Thursday, affect his production at the plate or not. CLICK HERE to read the entire article at Lohud and see below for a sample blurb while we wait. Enjoy. 

Last week, when he hit his fourth home run in five days, Alex Rodriguez talked about perspective.

As a younger player, he’d never liked days off. He played all 162 games three times in his 20s, but Rodriguez’s late 30s taught him the value of rest and recuperation. Durability is no longer be taken for granted, and strength in September is no longer a given.

Four home runs in five days? Rodriguez pointed to the week before when he’d more or less taken four days off in a National League park.

“I’ve felt much better,” Rodriguez said. “One of the good things about getting old is you have some perspective. I talked about that in Atlanta, and the days off for me have been good.”

In almost every case, taking at least two days off has paid immediate dividends for Rodriguez. An extended break has been helpful for the 40-year-old, and he should get one more break this weekend when the Yankees play at Citi Field. An off day Thursday followed by three games in a National League park should leave Rodriguez with an extended break leading into the final 14 games of the season.

And those final 14 games start with three against Toronto, so this would be a fine time to continue the pattern of being productive right after a few days off.

“I think one thing is, Joe (Girardi) deserves a lot of credit,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been very disciplined. He’s rested me. I took a day off after the three homers in Minnesota, and I think that has been good. Obviously I’ll have a break against the Mets. I’m in a position now where I can find the strength.”

Here’s every example of Rodriguez being kept out of the lineup at least two days in a row this season.

April 30-May 1Off day, at Red Sox
One pinch-hit appearance
Ten games before: .135/.319/.270
Ten games after: .286/.341/.657
This was A-Rod’s first extended break of the season. He was kept out of the lineup April 28, took an 0-for-6 April 29, April 30 was an off day, and he was back on the bench May 1. On that May 1 game, Rodriguez hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning, which would be the start of another hot streak.

May 19-20at Nationals
Two pinch-hit appearances; one inning in the field
Ten games before: .297/.364/.730
Ten games after: .405/.452/.514

This was early in the season, at a time when it seemed the Yankees had to find a way to get Rodriguez into these National League games. He came back from the short break to have a hit in his next 11 games in a row, including five multi-hit games. Didn’t necessarily need the break, but the time off didn’t seem to hurt him.

June 15-16at Marlins
One pinch-hit appearance
Ten games before: .205/.367/.333
Ten games after: .400/.500/.686

Had eight hits in his previous 10 games, and half of those came in one game, so his slump was perhaps a little worse than the slash line suggests. He was cheered at home in Miami, got into only one of those two games, then returned to hit a home run in three of his next seven games.

Yankees MLB Pipeline Honors Jorge Mateo & Luis Severino

The New York Yankees 2015 season initially started out as a sort of reclamation story with the re-emergence's of both Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Michael Pineda was back and better than ever and Masahiro Tanaka looked healthy and sharp.... and then the injuries came. New York basically stood pat at the July 31st trading deadline and instead turned their attention and their playoff hopes to the farm system. After losing Teixeira for the season and Eovaldi for the remainder of the 2015 regular season the team handed things over to Greg Bird, Luis Severino and other Yankees prospects. Some of those prospects were honored recently by's Pipeline.

The Chicago Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber and the Tampa Bay Rays rookie Blake Snell were named the top hitting and pitching prospects of the 2015 season respectively and a pair of Yankees prospects were also showcased. Jorge Mateo was named the best Yankees hitting prospect in the system while Luis Severino was named the best pitching prospect, surprise surprise. All 30 teams had their top hitting and pitching prospects named this week by's Pipleline and they are all listed below for your convenience.

Team: Pitching Prospect | Hitting Prospect

Blue Jays: LHP Shane Dawson | OF Anthony Alford
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino | SS Jorge Mateo
Orioles: RHP Mychal Givens | 1B Trey Mancini
Rays: LHP Blake Snell | 3B/1B Richie Shaffer
Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson | 2B Yoan Moncada

Royals: RHP Alec Mills | 1B Balbino Fuenmayor
Tigers: LHP Kevin Ziomek | OF Mike Gerber
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios | 1B/OF Max Kepler
White Sox: LHP Jordan Guerrero | SS Tim Anderson
Indians: RHP Adam Plutko | OF Bobby Bradley

Angels: LHP Sean Newcomb | 3B Kaleb Cowart
Astros: RHP Joe Musgrove | 1B A.J. Reed
Athletics: LHP Dillon Overton | SS Chad Pinder
Mariners: RHP Edwin Diaz | OF Tyler O'Neill
Rangers: RHP Ariel Jurado | OF Lewis Brinson

Braves: LHP Manny Banuelos | SS Ozhaino Albies
Marlins: RHP Kendry Flores | SS J.T. Riddle
Mets: LHP Steven Matz | OF Michael Conforto
Nationals: RHP Lucas Giolito | OF Victor Robles
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola | C Andrew Knapp

Brewers: RHP Jorge Lopez | SS Orlando Arcia 
Cardinals: RHP Alex Reyes | OF Stephen Piscotty
Cubs: LHP Ryan Williams | C/OF Kyle Schwarber
Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow | 1B Josh Bell
Reds: LHP Amir Garrett | OF Jesse Winker

D-backs: RHP Aaron Blair | OF/C Peter O'Brien
Dodgers: RHP Jose De Leon | SS Corey Seager
Giants: RHP Chase Johnson | SS Christian Arroyo
Padres: RHP Colin Rea | 1B Alex Dickerson
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela | SS/2B Trevor Story

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ New York Mets 9/20

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets will finish off their three game series and the Subway Series for the season tonight inside Citi Field. Both teams need a win but the pressure is especially on the Mets in my opinion with their ace on the mound in Queens tonight. The Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound tonight to face off against the Mets phenom Matt Harvey. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

  • Sabathia heads into this start fresh off his first start off the disabled list and possibly his best start of the season. Sabathia held the Tampa Bay Rays to just three hits in 6.2 scoreless innings of work on September 14. Sabathia has faced the Mets once this season and took the loss on April 25 after giving up seven runs in five innings. 

  • Harvey starting with all eyes in the nation on him on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, this is the kind of start that Harvey was seemingly made for. No one knows how long he will be in this game with the innings limit concerns surrounding the right-hander and the Mets right now and that may be the Yankees best chance tonight in Queens. 

The next four days are likely to make or break the Yankees season. Tonight's finale with the Mets is followed by the final three games with the Toronto Blue Jays head-to-head. Three or four losses in these four games could really make things interesting in the Wild Card race in the American League. Three or four wins in that same span can propel the Yankees right back into the conversation for the American League East Division race. Go Yankees!

Should Mark Teixeira Stop Switch-Hitting in 2016

Watching Mark Teixeira bat right handed this season has been frustrating at times and other times painful to watch. He almost looks awkward batting from the right side these days and some say he has been seemingly drained of all his power from that side. Should the Yankees and Teixeira consider scrapping the right handed swing in 2016 and focus on left handed swings only?

Teixeira has a bad batting average from either side of the plate in the last three seasons but let’s look at the last six seasons to see if the stats back up my theory.

LH BA 2015: .264
RH BA 2015: .223

LH BA 2014: .224
RH BA 2014: .215

LH BA 2013: .278
RH BA 2013: .086 (granted in an injury riddled season and small sample size)

LH BA 2012: .269
RH BA 2012: .239

LH BA 2011: .302
RH BA 2011: .223

LH BA 2010: .278
RH BA 2010: .247

In a word, yes. Please stop switch hitting.

Quick Hit: The Iron Man Streak Comes To an End

This is not as so much New York Yankees related as it is Major League Baseball related but either way you couldn’t have predicted it. Today was the day in 1998 that Cal Ripken Jr. and his iron man streak of 2,632 consecutive games came to an end. Ripken had not missed a single game in nearly 16 straight seasons, something that will likely never be replicated ever again.

Ripken finally took himself out of the lineup that Sunday night when the Orioles hosted the New York Yankees in Camden Yards on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Ripken had surpassed Lou Gehrig’s old streak against these same Yankees in Camden Yards as well so for the streak to end here seemed fitting and eerily coincidental.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/20: George Steinbrenner Joins Monument Park

If you asked enough people around Major League Baseball, especially non New York Yankees fans, you would probably get more negative comments that positive comments after former owner George Steinbrenner. Say what you will about the Boss but winning was most important to him and as a fan I truly appreciated that. On this day in 2010 the Yankees showed their appreciation for that as well when Mr. Steinbrenner was honored with a 7’ by 5’ 760 bronze monument in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. The tribute was to honor the recently deceased owner of the Yankees and saw Joe Torre return to Yankee Stadium for the first time after leaving the team after the 2007 season.

Also on this day in 2006 the New York Yankees, with a ton of help from the aforementioned Mr. Steinbrenner and his check book, clinched their ninth consecutive American League East division title. Quite the feat and accomplishment for the Yankees and Mr. Torre.

Speaking of honoring fallen Yankees heroes on this day in 1980 the Yankees honored fallen catcher Thurman Munson with a bronze plaque in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. The 32 year old team Yankees captain was killed last season while attempting to land his Cessna Citation at Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio.

Finally on this day in 1968 the Yankees legend Mickey Mantle would hit his 536th and final home run of his Hall of Fame career. Mantle played for 18 seasons and hit his final home run in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Yankee Stadium off pitcher Jim Longborg.