Sunday, April 10, 2016

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers 4/10

EDIT: This game has been rained/snowed out. No official makeup date has been announced. Masahiro Tanaka will not start again until Tuesday. 

This game has been in doubt all day because of snow and rain alongside some frigid temperatures but somehow mother nature has allowed this one to get underway so let's make the best out of a cold situation. Tonight the Yankees play for the first time on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball and they face off with the Detroit Tigers with Masahiro Tanaka taking the mound against Justin Verlander.

The game will be played at 8:35 pm ET inside of Comerica Park and can be seen on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball broadcast. Enjoy and go Yankees!

Andrew Miller the Bouncer and Brian McCann as H2BRO

The New York Yankees 2015 team was said to be one of the closest groups of ballplayers we have seen as fans in quite some time. In an era of one-year deals and free agency it can be tough for a group of 25 players to have the time to grow together but this Yankees team has seemingly done it. It was on display last season when the club remade the "Sandlot" scene about losing the Babe Ruth ball and it was on full display again this offseason many, many times. We've seen Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro remake a scene out of Step Brothers and today we bring you Andrew Miller as the clubhouse bouncer and Brian McCann as "H2BRO."

Enjoy both while we wait on the game.

Ben Affleck/Matt Damon Movie Still in Works about Yankees Wife Swap

On March 5, 1973 the New York Yankees made history by having the first documented wife swap in Major League Baseball history. Yankees teammates Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich announced that they traded families, including wives, children and dogs, in an interesting turn of events. The swap worked out well for Peterson who eventually married his best friend’s former wife and had four children with her while things didn’t go as well for Kekich and Marilyn Peterson. These two broke up shortly after the swap and had to watch as Fritz and Kekich’s wife went on to live happily ever after. You can’t make this stuff up but directors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will try to at least dramatize it enough to make it into a major motion picture in the coming years.

No release date has been announced for the project and no cast members have been cast as the idea has been thrown around back and forth and almost scrapped all together. The project, for now at least, seems to be back on and should be an interesting watch if you’re a Yankees fan. I wouldn’t go to the theater to see this but it will be something I will definitely check out if the movie idea ever comes to fruition.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers 4/10

For the first time this season, at least for me, we will be entertained with the New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball presented by ESPN. Out the door are Curt Schilling and John Kruk and in their place are former Yankees and Reds third baseman Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza. As you know I didn't watch MLB's Opening Night because I was watching the Walking Dead finale, pee-pee pants city yet?, so tonight is my first Sunday experience with the duo. In the matchup the Yankees will send their ace Masahiro Tanaka to the mound on normal rest to make his second start of the season while the Tigers counter with Justin Verlander.

Tanaka threw just 87 pitches in his first start of the season as he began the trend of Yankees pitchers going five innings plus or less (which CC Sabathia broke yesterday afternoon) in their starts this season. Tanaka went 5.2 innings on Opening Day against the Houston Astros allowing just two runs on four hits including that moon shot that Carlos Correa hit and complained of fatigue towards the end of the start. Was it the cold or was it the way New York handled and coddled him in spring training? Or is it something else entirely? We'll start to get that answer tonight in Detroit. 

Verlander made a great start in his first start of the season taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the powerful Miami Marlins. Verlander ended up giving up three hits in his final five batters of the contest including a two-run home run to Giancarlo Stanton but the start was still a successful one for Verlander. Justin Verlander hasn't beaten the Yankees since 2012 and hopefully that streak is still a thing after tonight's contest.

The game will be played at 8:35 pm ET inside Comerica Park and can be seen locally and nationally on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball program. I'll watch this over Fear The Walking Dead anytime so hopefully the team makes it worth it. Go Yankees!

The Tampa Bay Rays & the Third Time through the Batting Order

Last season here on the blog we covered the Tampa Bay Rays and their new, and a bit unorthodox, method of handling their starting pitchers and their bullpen. Kevin Cash, the Rays manager, attempted to limit all of his starting pitchers not named Chris Archer to just two trips through the opposing team’s starting lineup in an attempt to optimize their pitching performances and Cash and the Rays are back for Round 2 in 2016.

Much like anything in this world when something goes against the grain it’s criticized when it doesn’t work out and praised while it works while other teams scramble to imitate it. It seemed to work though as in 2015 MLB hitters hit .247 facing a starting pitcher for the first time while their average across the board jumped to .261 the second time around. The third time through the order? MLB hitters are hitting .270 and it only goes up from there so it makes sense, statistically anyway, why the Rays would be doing this. Last year Tampa Bay pitchers faced a team a third time through the order just 893 times, most of them coming from Archer, which is the lowest of any of the 30 MLB teams.

This works well in theory but when you dive deeper into the statistics there may be some troubling signs. On average a pitcher has only thrown around 60-70 pitches two times through the lineup and can go no longer than six innings at a time leaving a lot of baseball and outs left to get for the Tampa Bay bullpen. This is still a work in progress and it’s unclear whether it’s considered to be a good idea or a bad idea but the Rays are going for it and good for them. 

My Thoughts Following a Week of MLB Baseball

The New York Yankees almost have a week under their belts as well as all the other 29 MLB teams in the league so here are my thoughts on the first week of a wild 2016 MLB Season.

  • The Yankees were one blown call and one pitcher not wanting to drill Carlos Correa away from a sweep of the Houston Astros in the opening series of the season. They say you can't win a division in April but you sure can lose it, keep this one game in the back of your heads come September. 
  • The umpires were told to strictly enforce the new slide rule. Jose Bautista was called for it once this season on a perfectly legal slide, legal until he grabbed the second baseman's ankle that is. When did Bautista become such a dirty player?

  • After the start to the season that Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story got we may never see Jose Reyes in a Rockies uniform again. 

  • Robert Refsnyder who? Starlin Castro looks like an absolute steal in the first week of the season. 

  • Kyle Schwarber is done for the season. You have to think that will affect the Chicago Cubs this season. They are deep, deeper than most, but he is a big bat to lose. 

  • Carlos Correa is showing off and Carlos Gomez is a show off. One has every right to be and the other has no right to be. You choose which is which. 

  • It's still early and it's still cold. I'm not worried about the starts from the Yankees staff yet nor am I worried about the lack of offense at times or the bullpen. Talk to me again in a few weeks, then I may start worrying. 

  • David Ortiz is not going to go out in his final season quietly.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/10: Dave Eiland Hits a Home Run

On this day in 1992 Dave Eiland hit a home run in his first major league at bat. Eiland came through the New York Yankees system and also allowed a home run to first batter he faces in his career when he gave up a homer to the Brewers Paul Molitor. Eiland hit the home run in the National League in his first year with the San Diego Padres after coming over from the Yankees.