Sunday, April 3, 2016

MLB Opening Night 2016 Open Thread

Ladies and gentleman it's time, MLB's Opening Night! Today is the first game that counts this season and it's a rematch of the 2015 World Series between the New York Mets and the defending champion Kansas City Royals. In the game tonight the Mets will send their ace Matt Harvey to the mound to face off with the Royals #1 starter Edinson Volquez. This is a rematch of Game Five of the World Series with these two starters both on the mound for their respective teams.

The game will be played inside Kauffman Stadium, home of the Royals, at 8:37 pm ET and can be seen nationally on ESPN.

Dizzy Dean and Why Bryan Mitchell’s Toe Injury is Important

If you don’t check out the comments section on our blog, you should. There is a nice little core and stable of commenters that are just as full of knowledge and intelligence as they are jammed packed with passion for this team and organization. I bring that up because it was brought to my attention there that Bryan Mitchell would miss at least three months with basically a broken toe, a broken toe he suffered covering first base in one of the final spring games this season. I made the comment, very tongue-in-cheek by the way, “he’s going to miss three months for a toe?” and it was Ken Reed that very quickly reminded me that another pitcher once tried to pitch through a toe injury and it ended up costing him his career.

Dizzy Dean was pitching for the National League in the 1937 All-Star Game and was facing off against the American League’s Earl Averill of the Cleveland Indians when Averill hit a line drive back to the mound striking Dean in the foot. Dean suffered a fractured big toe and attempted to come back too soon from the injury resulting in a change of pitching motion and mechanics. The move was designed to compensate Dean’s pain when he landed on the toe but it ended up costing him so much more, his career. Dean hurt his arm and lost the great and overpowered fastball that made him such a good pitcher, all because of a toe.

It didn’t take long either, by 1938 Dean’s arm was basically all but gone. Dean has his contract bought out and later went on to help the Chicago Cubs to a 1938 NL pennant without much left on his arm. Dean pitched a huge game for Chicago down the stretch and pitched Game 2 for the Cubs in the 1938 World Series before losing to the New York Yankees in “Old Diz’s Last Stand.” Dean pitched until the 1941 season, his age 31 season, before retiring at the end of the season.

Dean was one of the best pitchers in all of Major League Baseball from his age 23 to his age 27 season and by 31 years old he had fallen so far he was forced into retirement. All because of a toe. One little toe.

Get well soon Bryan and take all the time you need!

2016 Predictions - NL West

     Although it is opening day for eight teams, the boys in pinstripes don't start until tomorrow.  It is also not opening day for any of the five teams in the National League West. With that in mind, it's time to finalize my 2016 predictions by breaking down the sixth and final division, NLWest. As you may have noticed, it is called the 2016 predictions, which means it is an even year. Does that mean it is another championship banner year for San Francisco? If we learned anything from 2010, 2012 and 2014, then it should be, right? Let's take a look.

5. Colorado Rockies

     As is typically the case in Denver, the Rockies entered the winter with a desperate need for starting pitching. It's tough to find anyone who can effectively sling it in the mile-high above sea level altitude, and as per usual, they couldn't. Instead, Colorado chose to add a few new bats to a lineup that saw the organization trade away their perennial All-Star slugger Troy Tulowitzki. Although they did receive Jose Reyes in the return package for the shortstop, Reyes has found himself amidst some very serious legal trouble pertaining to a domestic violence incident he was involved in earlier this off-season. So, the Rockies signed Mark Reynolds to play first base, hoping he is bringing his 30-home-runs-a-year bat bag with him. They did manage to grab Jake McGee in a trade with Tampa for their rising star outfielder Corey Dickerson. But, what good is having a great closer if no one can get him the ball? While they still have Nolan Arenado, D.J. LeMahieu  and Carlos Gonzalez to bash the ball around Coors Field, ultimately their lack of starting pitching will be the reason they find themselves at the bottom of the barrel looking up.

4. San Diego Padres
    A season after A.J. Preller made his general managerial debut, making trades for Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton, Melvin Upton Jr., Will Myers, Matt Kemp, Derek Norris and signing James Shields, the Padres find themselves in rebuild mode yet again. They have since moved the closer Kimbrel to Boston, Justin Upton signed a huge deal with Detroit and Ian Kennedy is now donning the Royals uniform. They also delt their second baseman Jedd Gyorko to St. Louis for centerfielder Jon Jay, in attempts to shore up their outfield defense and move Will Myers to first base.  They also signed Fernando Rodney to help with the back end of the bullpen and fill the spot left vacant by the departed Kimbrel.  Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, two of the Padres starting pitchers, had down years by their and their teams standards and hope to rebound this season. They play in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in all of baseball, PetCo Park.  Even with that being the case, in a division loaded with talent, I don't see them finishing any higher then fourth.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

     I know it seems crazy to have the highest payroll in baseball and a prediction of finishing third, but, here's why. Even though they have former MVP and Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw, they lost what could be considered their second ace, Zack Greinke, in a bidding war to their division rival Arizona. The Dodgers made several attempts to sign the games best free-agent starting pitching, only to sign Scott Kaznir and Japanese import Kenta Maeda. They are the most left-handed heavy staff in all of baseball, which does not bode well for them considering they are in a division that rakes against left-handed pitching.  They have a bit of a logjam in the outfield, although unlike Chicago, it's a mixed bag of older and younger players . Joc Peterson had a breakout first half last season playing centerfield, but fizzled out in the second half of 2015. Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier are both getting up there in age and with that comes a noticeable decline in skill level. The same could be said for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. One of the brightest spots for the men in blue last season was the play of their back stop Yasmani Grandal. They did manage to re-sign Howie Kendrick to play second base, although he is another player who is closer to the end of his career then the beginning. With some aging bats and shakiness in their rotation, I believe this organization will be headed back to the drawing board come seasons end.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks

     This was one of the most surprising teams in the entire off-season. The D'backs were rumored to be close to signing a deal with Johnny Cueto, only to one-up themselves by winning the Zack Greinke sweepstakes. Then, Arizona shocked the baseball world by executing the trade for Shelby Miller, sending a slew of prospects to Atlanta for the right-hander. At the end of last season, the Diamondbacks were asserting themselves as one of the most potent offense is in all of baseball and should continue their stellar play in the upcoming season. They have one of the best all-around players in the game today, Paul Goldschmidt. A.J. Pollack had a phenomenal year last season and has asserted himself as one of the top 10 outfielders in the game. Originally, they signed Yasmani Thomas to play third base last season, but, found that he may be better suited in the outfield adding an all star shortstop, in Jean Segura,  provides gold glove caliber defense and a spark plug at the top of the order. Not only do they have the afore mentioned Greinke and Miller, the D'backs have Patrick Corbin and Rubby De La Rosa, two young, very capable starting pitchers ready to learn from their number one and number two. I think this is one of the most intriguing teams to watch this season, and,  could be one of the most dynamic rosters ever assembled under Tony LaRussa.

1. San Fransisco Giants

     I know it seems obvious to pick the boys from the BayArea to take the division, but, I won't make the same mistake of picking them anywhere other then first place as I did in the prior 2010, 2012 and 2014 seasons. The Giants have managed to improve what was already a strong rotation by adding the highly sought after Johnny Cueto to pitch out of the two hole and Jeff Samardzija to pitch out of the three hole, both signing humongous deals. When you add that to a rotation that already includes one of the games best, Madison Bumgardner, Matt Cain and Chris Heston, who threw a no-hitter last season, you will find   That this is one of the best rotations in all of baseball. Offensively, they have one of the most underrated shortstops around in Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik is  A 25-year-old stud of a second baseman and is only getting better. Their captain and backstop Buster Posey continues to be one of the best young players and looks to continue his dominance in 2016, hoping to add to his already robust collection of trophies. A full season of health for Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt will also help to keep the runs coming fast and furious in one of the games most beautifu ballparks, AT&T Park. With such a well-rounded offense and pitching staff, San Francisco seems poised to hold up yet another banner at the end of the season.

 Hey 2016, let's go!

Predicting the 2016 Playoffs & World Series

The 2016 MLB regular season is over and 162 games are now in the books. You did all that for this, the Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series. Here we go using the predictions and records from my previous prediction posts! Bolded team denotes the victory in the series!

American League

Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees

I truly believe once everyone is healthy no team is better suited for a one-game playoff then the New York Yankees. With the big three in the bullpen and a young ace in Masahiro Tanaka (or Luis Severino) the team just has to get an early lead and hold it. The offense has shown an ability to be explosive and while Corey Kluber is great and a former Cy Young award winner he is no Dallas Keucehl. Maybe it’s the homer in me but I’m going with my Yankees.

Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Toronto Blue Jays monster offense should be better in 2016 with the help of a couple contract seasons for Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. The pitching won’t be as good probably without David Price but Price wasn’t great in the postseason anyway while the team will benefit from a full season from Marcus Stroman. Meanwhile the Yankees matchup decently against the Royals but talent wins out more times than not in a long series and it will again with the Royals taking the next step towards repeating as World Series champions.

Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays may finally be the team of destiny in 2016, they haven’t been for quite some time. It looked like they were headed home numerous times last season including that crazy game with the Texas Rangers, probably more commonly known as the “Jose Bautista Bat Flip” game and the team seemed to play not to lose rather than to win. That can happen sometimes with a young team or with a team that hasn’t been there before. They’ve all been there now and shouldn’t have much trouble locking up the extremely talented, but flawed, Kansas City Royals to reach the World Series for the first time since Joe Carter’s name was etched in the lineup card.

National League

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

So much for all the parity in major sports and specifically Major League Baseball huh? These two teams have been all over these predictions for the last few seasons and have seen each other more than once in the real games. Clayton Kershaw trembles at the thought of seeing the Cardinals in the postseason, St. Louis is his postseason monkey and will remain his postseason monkey at least through 2016. Carlos Martinez vs. Clayton Kershaw should be a good pitching matchup to watch though.

Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals

San Francisco Giants vs. New York Mets

Spoiler alert, no one in the National League is touching the Chicago Cubs this season. Not in the postseason either. No one. Cubs win, it may take six or seven but the Cubs still win. That team has too much talent to stay down for long. Meanwhile in the New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants series it’s going to come down to pitching like it always does in the postseason. Both teams have it but the Mets have a slight advantage in the offensive category while I’m not entirely sold on either bullpen, especially the Giants pen. Another series that may go six or maybe even seven games and another trip to the NLCS for the Metropolitans. I can hear Twitter now. Joy. Apparently San Francisco forgot this was an even year.

Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets

In the NLCS we have a repeat of the 2015 NLCS and much of the same factors play into this series like they do in the ALCS. The Toronto Blue Jays played not to lose at times last season and lost and the Cubs seemingly lost because of inexperience, youth and a few bad breaks against a good, red-hot team. The Cubs won’t let the bright lights and all the cameras and millions of eyes get to them this time though. The Cubs are a team of destiny this season in my eyes and they should make short work of the Mets who are without more than a few key pieces from their 2015 World Series run. Cubs in five.

World Series 2016: Chicago Cubs vs. Toronto Blue Jays

World Series 2016 between the Chicago Cubs and the Toronto Blue Jays. What year is it again? That joke really isn’t relevant though is it? It’s been how long since the Cubs won a World Series? While there will be talks of billy goat’s and curses the Cubs and their front office, led by a man who knows a thing or two about curses and their destruction, won’t hear a single one of them. Winning tends to do that to a team and winning the Cubs will do. The Blue Jays will put up a heck of a fight and those four games in this seven game series inside Chicago’s Wrigley Field should be fun to watch with these two offensive attacks but the Cubs and their deep pitching should win out in seven closing the door on a historic and one of the best World Series battles in the history of the game. I can’t wait to watch it. Cubs win!

Predicting the 2016 National League Division Standings

The American League predictions are in the book but what about the National League? Just because they don’t have a DH, they let their pitchers hit and they still bunt and stuff doesn’t mean we should hold it against them personally, should we? Well we should, but we won’t.

New York Mets (94-68)
Washington Nationals (92-70)
Miami Marlins (89-73)
Atlanta Braves (70-92)
Philadelphia Phillies (67-95)

Chicago Cubs (100-62)
St. Louis Cardinals (94-68)
Pittsburgh Pirates (90-72)
Cincinnati Reds (75-87)
Milwaukee Brewers (60-102)

San Francisco Giants (95-67)
Los Angeles Dodgers (93-69)
Arizona Diamondbacks (89-73)
Colorado Rockies (71-91)
San Diego Padres (63-99)

Wild Card #1 Winner: St. Louis Cardinals
Wild Card #2 Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers

Predicting the 2016 American League Division Standings

We’ve predicted the major awards all week long so now as we anxiously wait for the 2016 season to kick off soon the only thing left to predict are the standings, the postseason and the World Series. First things first though, you have to win the division or a wild card to win the World Series so let’s see who I think will be competing for the ultimate prize come October of 2016.

Toronto Blue Jays (94-68)
New York Yankees (90-72)
Boston Red Sox (88-74)
Tampa Bay Rays (85-77)
Baltimore Orioles (77-85)

Kansas City Royals (98-64)
Cleveland Indians (93-69)
Detroit Tigers (89-73)
Chicago White Sox (81-81)
Minnesota Twins (74-88)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (91-71)
Texas Rangers (86-76)
Houston Astros (85-77)
Oakland Athletics (80-82)
Seattle Mariners (69-93)

Wild Card #1 Winner: Cleveland Indians

Wild Card #2 Winner: New York Yankees

TGP Mega Prediction Game Season Eight!!

Wow, SEASON 8!! We have run this thing on a forum that Bryan Van Dusen, Bryan Knepper and I came from before we had the blog and it has been a hit in every single season. I expect no different this year as Mr. Ken Reed comes to defend his title. If you’re unfamiliar with the games I will link the rules below but basically the name of the game is pretty self-explanatory, it’s a prediction game based on points. You have a certain point total you can wager per game and you bet that on whether the Yankees will win or lose all 162 games. The player with the most points at the end of the season wins the game.

It’s an everyday commitment almost and it’s a grind but it can definitely be fun if you are willing to put in the time. You can predict as far out as you want so theoretically you can predict all 162 games today if you’d like or you can do them one at a time. Usually I do my predictions per series because I feel that’s the smartest thing to do but you can do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

All you have to do is leave a comment in the Mega Prediction Game thread HERE to be involved. Now about those rules……

You will predict the outcome of every game one series at a time. You will predict whether the Yankees will win or lose the game but will also wager a point amount determined by how many games are in the series. If there is a three game series , like the one starting tomorrow, you will be able to wage a 3 Pt, a 2 Pt, and a 1 Pt game. In a four game series you will see a 4 Pt game added. For example:

4/6/15 - 4/9/15 New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Game 1 Win - 3 Pts
Game 2 Win - 2 Pts
Game 3 Win - 1 Pt

All predictions must be submitted in the comment box, on twitter @GreedyStripes, or via email at The Greedy Pinstripes BEFORE the first pitch of the game. If it is not predicted before the first pitch of the game then you are penalized your highest point game. If you were to miss the prediction then you would only be allowed your two lowest wagers. There is no minimum so even if you miss two games and want to wager 1 point on the third game then that is perfectly fine. See example:

4/6/15 - 4/9/15 New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Game 1 MISSED 
Game 2 Win - 1 Pt
Game 3 Win - 2 Pts 

Tie breakers will be whoever predicts the most perfect series meaning who gets the most series predicted correctly. If there is still not a winner then we will use the playoffs as a tie breaker. You MUST be a registered user to use the comment box to play the game. No anonymous users will be counted in our tallies or be eligible for the prize, although you can still play for fun if you would like.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/3: Yankee Stadium & Citi Field

On this day way back in 2009 the Yankees and the Mets both debuted their new stadiums on the same day. The Yankees hosted the Cubs at the new Yankees Stadium and the Mets hosted the Red Sox at Citi Field. Both teams would win their debuts in these exhibition games and the Yankees would bring home a World Series ring in the same season.