Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Live Game Updates: A's at Yankees - 4/19

7:29 p.m., End First: #RISPSuccess. A-Rod drives in Carlos Beltran with a two-out RBI single to left, and the Yankees have a 1-0 lead after the opening frame.

7:42 p.m., Mid 2nd: Pineda gives it right back in the second. Marcus Semien's RBI single evens the score at one.

7:50 p.m., End 2nd: Nothing doing for the Yankees in a 1-2-3 bottom of the second.

8:07 p.m., End 3rd: Lead-off double for Brett Gardner gets wasted in the third. The Yankees' situational hitting struggles continue.

8:13 p.m., Mid 4th: Pineda looks sharp in a clean top of the fourth. He's at 58 pitches so far.

8:22 p.m., End 4th: A-Rod bloops his second single of the night to center, but Eric Surkamp retires the next three. Still tied after four.

8:30 p.m., Mid 5th: Big strikeout of Chris Coghlan helps Pineda work around a one-out triple from Billy Burns in the fifth.

8:48 p.m., End 5th: Finally, the Yankees get another run. A walk to Gardner, a double by Castro, and a sac fly by Beltran give the Yankees a 2-1 edge after five. 

8:55 p.m., Mid 6th: Tough luck for Pineda and the Yankees. A Danny Valencia line drive goes off the tip of Gardner's glove for a triple, and Jed Lowrie ties it with a weak groundball single two batters later.

9:10 p.m., End 6th: Luck really isn't on the Yankees' side right now. Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner both hit balls on the nose in the sixth, and both get robbed. Yanks end up stranding runners on second and third.

9:28 p.m., End 7th: Betances is coming on for the eighth. Still even at two.

9:39 p.m., Mid 8th: Betances yields a pair of singles in the eighth, but escapes with a strikeout of Khris Davis.

9:45 p.m., End 8th: Yankees offense looking lifeless out there. Ninth inning and Miller coming up, with the score still tied.

10:06 p.m., End 9th: Yankees' bats don't do anything again. Extra innings coming up.

10:20 p.m., End 10th: Another 1-2-3 inning for the Yanks. They've had just one baserunner since their last threat in the bottom of the sixth.

Final (11 Innings): A's 3, Yankees 2

Another helpless performance by the Yankees' bats cancelled out a strong start from Pineda and a dominant night for the bullpen. I guess Pineda's a bright spot here, but if this offense doesn't turn it around soon, no improvement he or any other pitcher on the roster makes will matter.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics 4/19

Another day, another series and another game. Such is life during the Major League Baseball regular season. The New York Yankees had a tough time over the weekend against the Seattle Mariners winning just one of the three games that they played and the team will look to take out their frustrations on the Oakland Athletics tonight in the Bronx. New York will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking to be more like Big Mike than the Average Mike he has been thus far this season while the Athletics will counter with Eric Surkamp, a left-hander. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

To see the Yankees live this week against the A’s in the Bronx or at home during any game this season click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog and snag a pair of tickets or two for Yankee Stadium. If you can’t make it live then you can always head over to Twitter and follow along with us on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a follow. We live tweet each and every game during the regular season and beyond so we’re good to have around if you can’t make the game or watch it live in the comfort of your own home.

That’s enough out of me because now it’s time for Michael Pineda to put up or shut up for the Yankees. Here’s to hoping for the former and not the latter. Go Yankees!

Is Alex Rodriguez Finished?

If someone were to just look at Alex's triple-slash numbers, it would be clear that he's simply not good this season. And at 40 years old, it would be easy to say time has simply caught up with him. Through the Yankees' first nine games of the 2015 season, Alex was hitting .286/.394/.571. That slash line is a little better than the .118/.231/.294 start he's had to the 2016 season.

"Am I Alex Rodriguez?"

So how about Rodriguez's ability to drive in runs? Well, of the seven runs Rodriguez batted in in the first nine games of 2015, five of them were driven in without the aid of the home run. This time around, just one of the four RBI he's driven in this year came from something other than a homer.

Need more reason to worry? Okay, how about his contact percentage? In 2015 Alex made contact with 70.3% of the pitches he swung at. Unfortunately, this season that number is down to 66.2%. Sure, it's only 4.1 percentage points, so why worry? Well, maybe because his contact rate has actually fallen in each of his last five seasons (not counting 2014, for obvious reasons).

Sadly, the bad news doesn't end there. Taking the entire 2015 season into account again, Rodriguez struck out in 23.4% of his plate appearances, and walked in 13.5% of them. So far this year Alex has k'd in 33.3% of his PA, while walking just 10.3% of the time.

But not everything going on with Rodriguez this season points to a total loss. I mean, let's not push for the team to eat the remaining money owed to Alex for the rest of this season and next just yet.

I should preface this by pointing out that not everybody believes a player's batting average on balls in play (or "BABIP") is a good stat. Personally, I don't believe it's a great stat for trying to figure out if a player has been lucky or not, but it's something that you should at least consider.

With that said, ARod's BABIP through the first nine games of last season was .429, which is much higher than his career mark of .315. Seeing that his BABIP so far this season sits 324 points lower than that (.105 for you people that hate math), I think it's safe to say he has been at least a tad unlucky in 2016.

Another reason to stick by Alex is his line drive percentage, which is higher so far this year than he's ever hit in any season throughout his career (23.8%, compared to just 18.2% for all of 2015). Couple that line drive rate with a ground ball percentage lower than he's ever had as well (38.1%), and that means more hard-hit balls in the air, which is a good recipe for more hits.

I must admit that this entire post may be pointless, as in some cases I'm talking about very small sample sizes. But like I alluded to earlier, there are some fans that would like to see the Yankees cut Alex now, and eat the nearly $39 million the team still owes him through next season.

And that, my friends, is crazy. If anything, and this is something I believe will happen, Joe Girardi may want to cut back on Alex's playing time. But that's not so much because he's that bad, but because Carlos Beltran should see some time as the starting DH while Aaron Hicks gets more starts in the outfield.

"That's what the lineup card that Mr. Cashman sent to me says."

As the Top Goes, the Offense Goes

It sounds simple enough and it could be said for any of the 30 MLB teams around the league but it seems to be especially true for the New York Yankees. As the top of the order goes so does the rest of the New York Yankees offense. This was on full display this weekend in the Bronx against the Seattle Mariners and it has been especially true over the past two or three seasons, well since the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury to be their leadoff hitter for $150+ million. If the top of the order is doing well and getting on base it seems to take the pressure off of the middle of the Yankees lineup and the runs seem to come in bunches but when the top of the order isn’t doing so well, well we don’t like to talk about that too much out loud.

Ellsbury lived up to expectations in the first year of his new Yankees contract and has fallen short ever since dropping his Yankees average to just .265 before the start of the 2016 season. Ellsbury is hovering around the Stephen Drew line already this season, yes I changed the name… no disrespect to Mr. Mendoza, and has been just as mediocre in the field as he’s been at the plate. Ellsbury is not only not hitting but he’s also failing to reach base at a respectable clip leaving many to wonder why he is still leading off rather than the next man that needs to step things up in order to get the Yankees offense going, Mr. Brett Gardner.

Gardner has always hovered around the .260 - .280 mark with good defense but a weird fascination with striking out. That’s the Gardner we drafted and that’s the Gardner we developed and handed a contract extension to. That hasn’t changed thus far in 2016 and neither has his seemingly inability to get a good jump, judge a pitcher or steal a base consistently throughout a season. If Gardner can improve his on-base percentage and average a bit, marginally or at all he could unseat Ellsbury in the leadoff spot. If he doesn’t though Mr. Alex Rodriguez will be coming up a lot this season in the first inning with nobody on and two outs.

Alex struggled out of the gate this season before responding in the final game of the Seattle Mariners series. Alex only responded after being moved down in the order as apparently he takes offense to hitting sixth in the Yankees lineup. A Rod went 0-21 after hitting his home run in Detroit and is creeping up on 41-years old. Does he have anything left or are the Yankees doomed to see another hitter rely on home runs only with a .220 average? If he hits the latter it’s going to potentially be a long summer in the Bronx. 

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

Here we are in the third week of the MLB season bringing you the second set of MLB power rankings brought to you by the crew over at the USA Today. Technically this is the third set of rankings if you include the preseason rankings but who is really counting anyway? Not I, especially since I believe the Yankees are destined to fall and fall hard this week after losing four straight games at one point this week. I also expect the St. Louis Cardinals to rise and rise quickly in the rankings but you’re not here to read my presumptions and predictions, you’re here to read the rankings, so let’s get on with shall we?

The New York Yankees finished the rankings down two spots as they fell to the 17th position from #15 last week. The rest of the American League East took a bit of a dive as well overall with the Baltimore Orioles finishing 7th, the Boston Red Sox finishing 11th, the Toronto Blue Jays finishing 12th and the Tampa Bay Rays finishing 19th.

The biggest rise of the week went to the Washington Nationals who rose six spots from the 8th position all the way to the #2 position. With every rise you must have a fall though and the biggest fall this week went to the New York Mets who fell seven spots from the 6th position all the way to the #13 position.

The Top 5 spots on the list belong to the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile the bottom feeders of the list in descending order are the #26 ranked San Diego Padres, the #27 ranked Philadelphia Phillies, the #28 ranked Minnesota Twins, the #29 ranked Milwaukee Brewers and the #30 ranked Atlanta Braves.

The sample sizes are larger but they are still relatively small when you look at a 162-game season in the big picture. Many will fall, many will rise and it won’t be until about the beginning of June before we see a clear picture of the league and the potential contenders and pretenders. That will come just in time for the August 1st trading deadline when everything gets thrown for a loop once again when teams sell and buy off expensive and key players at the deadline. It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait so be sure to check in every Tuesday afternoon for a new set of rankings. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics 4/19

The New York Yankees did not have the best weekend, which may be the understatement of the year. New York is heading into tonight’s game after avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners on Sunday and after losing a very winnable game in the Bronx on Saturday against King Felix. The good thing for the Yankees is that they had a day off yesterday to lick their wounds and get over their case of the Monday’s and head into today’s series opener with the Oakland Athletics rested and presumably ready to go. Donned with the task of pitching the Yankees to a victory tonight is Michael Pineda while the A’s will counter with Eric Surkamp who has similar plans of his own.

Pineda has not had the start to the 2016 season that man had hoped for or thought after such a strong spring training for the right-hander. Pineda has allowed more than a hit per inning this season and has struggled with command and walks, which is very uncharacteristic of Big Mike, forcing him into a 6.55 ERA to begin the year. That can all turn around tonight in the Bronx with his third start of the season, just start throwing up zeroes.

Surkamp, like Pineda, hasn’t had the start he would have hoped for this season either posting a 4.00 ERA in his first two starts of the year. In Surkamp’s last start he allowed two runs on five hits while allowing four walks to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a loss. Surkamp, a lefty, has yet to complete five innings of work this season so expect to see a lot of right-handed bats and a lot of patient hitters tonight inside Yankee Stadium.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. Teams like the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics, teams that are expected to lose more games than they win in 2016, are teams that the Yankees absolutely have to beat if they plan to play for anything in October this year. Slow starts happen and they can be overcome but only up to a certain point in the season. I’m not saying we’re past or at that point yet but we are presumably getting closer and closer with every game the Yankees seemingly give away in the standings.

That stops today. Go Yankees!

Yankees Stats Leaders Through 11 Games


Games Played:

Four at 11 games each including Jacoby Ellsbury, Starlin Castro, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira

At Bats:

Jacoby Ellsbury - 47

Runs Scored:

Brian McCann - 11


Starlin Castro and Carlos Beltran - 14 each


Starlin Castro - 3

Home Runs:

Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran - 3 each

Starlin Castro - 9

Carlos Beltran - .341 (qualifying)
Ronald Torreyes - .500 (non-qualifying)


Masahiro Tanaka - 3

Dellin Betances - 6

Five with one win each including Michael Pineda, Chasen Shreve, CC Sabathia, Johnny Barbato and Masahiro Tanaka.

Luis Severino - 2


Bullpen: Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances and Chasen Shreve have 0.00 ERA's 

Rotation: Masahiro Tanaka - 3.06


Rotation: Masahiro Tanaka - 16

Bullpen: Dellin Betances - 15

Weekly Check In: Nick Swisher

The New York Yankees went for a bit of veteran depth, a warm body at first base and for some nostalgia last week when they officially signed Nick Swisher to a minor league deal. Swisher came over in a trade from the Chicago White Sox in the winter before the 2009 season and spent four of the best seasons of his career in the Bronx including a World Series championship in 2009 before leaving for greener pastures, greener being more money, in Cleveland before the 2013 season. Swisher has struggled since both in the stat column and in the staying healthy department since leaving New York but he has played his best baseball in the Bronx and if his first game back with the organization is any indicator of things to come, he had a 2-4 night with Scranton, then he may be in the midst of another “Back in the New York Groove” kind of season.

Watch out A Rod, Nick Swisher might be coming:

This Day In New York Yankees History 4/19: Gossage Hurt in Fight w/ Teammate

On this day in 1979 Goose Gossage sprained a ligament in his thumb while fighting with teammate Cliff Johnson. The closer would be out until mid July and Johnson was traded to the Indians for Don Hood due to the brawl in the clubhouse.

Also on this day in 1960 Roger Maris made his New York Yankees debut going 4-5 while batting leadoff on Opening Day. Maris racked up 11 bases, including two home runs and a double, and saw the Yankees win 8-4 over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Also on this day in 1949 Babe Ruth joined Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins in receiving a center field monument from the Yankees after their deaths. Ruth died eight months prior before joining Monument Park in Yankee Stadium.

Also on this day in 1948 Yankees pitcher Allie Reynolds refused to leave second base after hitting his first and only home run of his career. Allie thought the Washington Senators were trying to trick him as he did not see the ball clear the left field fence. Obviously Reynolds, in front of President Truman, eventually was convinced enough to run the bases.

Finally on this day in 1939 Joe DiMaggio learned the news that he was engaged and planned to marry that summer to actress Dorthy Arnold. DiMaggio quickly shot down the rumors saying that no ceremony would take place during the baseball season and the two wed in November of that year.