Monday, April 25, 2016

Recap: Yankees 3, Rangers 1

With their relief core getting increasingly exhausted, the Yankees needed Nathan Eovaldi to give them some length Monday night.

He did just that, flirting with history along the way.

Eovaldi threw seven-plus scoreless innings in his home state, yielding just two hits and a pair of walks in a 3-1 win over the Rangers.

The Alvin, Texas, native had a no-hitter through six, but lost the bid when Rangers OF Nomar Mazarra led-off the seventh with a single.

Outside of that, though, Eovaldi was near-spotless on the evening, striking out six on 98 pitches in his first victory of the young season. 

He didn't receive a ton of run support, but then again, his outing didn't entail it.

After squandering a bases-loaded opportunity in the second, the Yankees grabbed a couple in the top of the third -- courtesy of a solo home run from Jacoby Ellsbury and an RBI double from Mark Teixeira.

They added to their advantage in the sixth, when Starlin Castro contributed his own solo shot on a fly ball to left.

In all, the Yankees were just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight men on base. But their performance was enough to beat Texas lefty Cesar Ramos, who -- starting in place of injured ace Cole Hamels -- allowed three earned run in six innings.

In fact, if there was one dark spot for the Yankees in this one, it was their bullpen. Dellin Betances entered in the eighth and surrendered a solo blast to Brett Nicholas, ruining the right-hander's perfect ERA.

Andrew Miller, however, was as good as always, working a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save in as many opportunities.  

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees improved to 8-10 on the year, having taken the opener of a nine-game road trip. They remain in the cellar of the AL East, three back of the division-leading Orioles.

NEXT UP: The Yankees and Rangers continue this series on Tuesday. Luis Severino (0-2, 4.86 ERA) and A.J. Griffin (2-0, 3.18 ERA) are slated to be your starters, with first pitch set for 8:05 p.m. ET.

Eovaldi Flirts with No-No, Leads Yanks to 3-1 Victory

     On a warm night in the heart of Texas, the Yankees began their nine game road trip with game one of a three-game set against the Texas Rangers. A small town outside of Houston, Alton, has produced two major league fireballers; Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, owner of seven no-hitters and Nathan Eovaldi, looking for his first. The Yankees righty toed the mound with his 5.79 ERA, and was looking to capitalize on a skillset that does not quite match his season statistics. On the mound for the Rangers was Cesar Ramos, a southpaw making his Rangers debut. Called up from Triple-A Round Rock, Ranos was making a spot start for Cole Hamels, who had to miss his turn in the rotation due to a groin injury.  Additionally, with Aaron Hicks and Alex Rodriguez missing tonight's game due to injury, the Yankees were playing shorthanded, only having two players available for substitution on the bench.
     Early in the game, it looked like "same problems, different night". In the top of the second, the Yankees loaded the bases with only one out and were unable to drive a single runner in. However, in the top of the third, Jacoby Ellsbury took Ramos deep to right on a 3-1 pitch, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Then after Carlos Beltran drew a walk, Mark Teixeira drilled a double to the deepest part of the ballpark in centerfield, scoring Beltran, pushing it to 2-0. Fast forward to the top of the sixth, Ramos served up yet another long ball, this time to second baseman Starlin Castro, extending the Yankees lead to 3-0.
    Nathan Eovaldi, on the other hand, was masterfully dominant. Using his off-speed pitches, predominately his splitter,"Nasty Nate"kept Ranger hitters off all night long, flirting with a no-hitter through six innings. The first blemish in the H column came in the bottom of the seventh, when rookie Nomar Mazara lined a 3-2 pitch into left field for a single. As soon as the ball left the bat, you could see the look of disappointment on Eovaldi's face. He knew what was on the line and it just wasn't meant to be tonight. Later in the inning, Prince Fielder recorded the Rangers second hit off the Yankee right-hander, doubling to right-center field. Eovaldi's final line was absolutely phenomenal, allowing just the two hits in seven innings, with no runs and striking out six in the process.
     And, speaking of things that hadn't happened, Delin Betances allowed his first run of the season, a solo homerun by catcher Brett Nicholas, making the score 3-1, where it would stay. Andrew Miller locked down his fifth save of the season, as the Yankees went on to win the all-important game one of a series on the road.
     Look for the Bronx Bombers to keep it rolling in game two tomorrow, with first pitch at 8:05 PM ET.

Live Game Updates: Yankees at Rangers - 4/25

Mid 3rd: Yankees take the lead on an Ellsbury solo shot and a Teixeira double in the third. They're up 2-0 early. 

Mid 5th: Still 2-0 Yankees. Eovaldi looking sharp out there.

Mid 6th: Castro adds on with a solo home run in the sixth. Yanks now up 3-0.

End 6th: Eovaldi puts up another zero in the sixth. He's doing something right now we can't mention.

End 7th: Eovaldi allows a couple of knocks in the seventh -- ending his no-hit bid -- but he escapes without any damage. Yankees still up 3-0 heading into the eighth.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 4/25

The New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers are set to begin their three-game set this week at Globe Life Park in Arlington here in just a few minutes. Raise your hands if you've been in front of your television or your computer for an hour now thinking that the game started at 7:05 pm ET and not 8:00 pm ET. Maybe it's just me but anyway tonight the Yankees will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound to face off with Cesar Ramos who will be filling in for the Texas ace Cole Hamels tonight as he fights a left groin injury. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN and MLB TV.

Follow along with the game and keep me awake on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a follow, I struggle with these games that start a bit late. Also be sure to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to grab a pair of tickets for Yankee Stadium when the boys return home to the Bronx.

The Yankees miss Cole Hamels which is always a good thing so we have to take advantage. Win! Go Yankees!!

Yankees Sign Phil Coke to MiLB Deal

The New York Yankees have brought back a familiar face to potentially join the Scranton Shuttle this season and his name is Phil Coke. If you remember Coke was a member of the Yankees before being shipped off to the Detroit Tigers in the deal that brought Curtis Garnderson to the Bronx. Coke made a run as the Tigers closer all the way to the World Series while the Yankees got a pair of 40+ home run seasons out of Granderson. Granderson has moved on to the Mets via free agency while Coke has bounced around a bit since that World Series run. Coke's bouncing around has now found him back in the Bronx.

The Lancaster Barnstormers of the Independent League sent Coke back to New York in a deal where the terms were undisclosed. Coke, who was a member of the Yankees bullpen in 2009 that also went to the World Series, will now join his former teammate Nick Swisher in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders.

Most Popular Article of the Week: Yankees Should Trade One of Big Three, Yes or No?

The New York Yankees are a team full of expectations and talent but at least at the start of the 2016 campaign the team is not full of players meeting expectations or exceeding expectations. This is especially true in the Yankees starting rotation where outside of a great start from Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday the crew has struggled collectively. Now the Yankees are left with a few options, the first option being to wait it out and hope that the world of sample sizes and history even themselves out leading the Yankees to go on a roll. The second option is to call up a James Kaprielian or equivalent to try and spark the rotation and get some innings out of and the third option is to make a trade to bring in some talent. Not many teams are presumably open for business unless the deal is too sweet to pass up, could one such deal too sweet to pass up include one of the Yankees three-headed monster in the bullpen?

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances have both lived up to the hype thus far this season recording outs and strikeouts like the zombie apocalypse is coming and their lives depend on it while Aroldis Chapman is staying fresh and stretched out down in minor league camps. Chapman is serving a 30 game suspension currently leaving his trade value low until he comes back but you would have to think the Yankees could move one of these three, not skip a beat, and still improve on the team. Look at the offer the team received for Andrew Miller from the Houston Astros before the season began. In case you missed it the deal was headlined by former first overall draft pick Mark Appel and dominant young stud Vincent Velasquez, could the Yankees pull a similar deal out of their hat or maybe even a better deal as the season goes along?

The Yankees bullpen could handle the loss of one of these men, especially if Chasen Shreve who also sports a 0.00 ERA at the time of this writing and especially if Johnny Barbato continues to be dominant, and the rotation as it stands today could use a punch in the arm. I’m truly on the fence about it though, sure the Yankees could survive a loss but I’m not sure that they should or not. The perfect recipe for a mediocre starting rotation is a strong bullpen that can take the ball after five or six innings and close things down with a lead. The 1996 Yankees did that and many teams before and since have as well and the 2016 version of the Yankees have done that. Sure they are going to burn out their arms at this torrid pace but one must remember that the warmer it gets and the longer we stretch into the season the longer these starters will go. One must also remember that Chapman will be back early next month taking some of the innings and some of the stress off of everyone else.

With all that said I pose the question to you. Should the Yankees trade one of their big three out of the bullpen to improve the starting pitching and go for it in 2016? Or should they trade one or more of them and build towards the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons? Or should they simply stand pat and see the plan and the course to fruition? Leave it below in the comments section or drop us a line on twitter by following @GreedyStripes.

ICYMI: RIP Yankees Prospect Sandy Acevedo

The New York Yankees announced some terrible news yesterday that sent shock waves throughout the entire organization, the untimely passing of Yankees prospect Sandy Acevedo. Acevedo was an 18-year old infielder in the Yankees minor league system and the team announced that Acevedo was in a fatal car crash on Saturday night.

Acevedo died in the Dominican Republic and a moment of silence was held for the 18-year old at Yankee Stadium yesterday afternoon when the team faced off with the Tampa Bay Rays. Acevedo was signed as an international free agent last July and was scheduled to make his rookie debut with the Gulf Coast League Yankees this season before the crash.

RIP Sandy Acevedo.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 4/25

The New York Yankees have played their getaway game yesterday afternoon and have made the trip out west to Arlington to face off with the Texas Rangers. How convenient that the Houston native Nathan Eovaldi opens up the series on the mound for the Yankees, huh? Opposing Eovaldi on the mound tonight will be Cesar Ramos as these two teams kick off a three-game set.

Eovaldi is still a work in progress and is still "eovolving" at this point in his career. While he still gives up more hits than he should for a guy with 99+ MPH stuff he has increased his strikeout totals a bit this season. Eovaldi has struck out at least seven batters in seven straight starts, which is good for a share of such a streak in Yankees franchise history, but his ERA is still sitting at 6.11 while he searches for his first victory of the year.

Ramos is making the start tonight in the place of Cole Hamels after being recalled from Triple-A this week. Hamels is dealing with a strained left groin muscle while Ramos bring an 0-1 record and 3.18 Triple-A ERA to the ballpark in Arlington tonight. This will be the first start for Ramos in the major leagues since May 17, 2014 while he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. 

The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET inside Globe Life Park in Arlington and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN and MLB TV. You guys know me by now, I hate West Coast games. I'm not really a fan of these central time zone games either. It's hard enough for me to stay up until 10:00 - 11:00 pm ET and get up no later than 5:00 am the next morning and these games start an hour later than usual so.. yeah. If I'm quiet during the game don't call the cops and report me missing, I may be snoozing. Hopefully the Yankees aren't snoozing though.

Go Yankees!

Top Cuban Prospect Ruben Paz Leaves Cuba for MLB

The flow of Cuban talent from their native island country to the United States has not slowed down since President Obama and the Castro regime have opened up negotiations and talk between the two countries. If anything the flow of Cuban prospects and players leaving the dictatorship country is increasing and Cuba lost another this week in Ruben Paz. Paz was widely considered to be Cuba's top prospect and one of their top players still left in the country and now he is presumably on his way to the Major Leagues.

Paz would have likely been the Serie Nacional Rookie of the Year for this season had he not left at age 21 with his talent and speed on the base paths. In the Serie Nacional 2015-2016 season that just ended Paz hit an impressive .361/.411/.476 in 76 games for Las Tunas. Paz is a right-handed batter with a simple swing that produces hits to all fields although the power has not come along yet for the 21-year old.

Paz is not a finished product nor is he a sure fire thing, especially after the outfielder hit three home runs and stole only three bases in 10 attempts last season while striking out 38 times with just 17 walks. Paz is a prospect and should be treated as so. He will be treated as so as far as paying him since he has less than five years in the Serie Nacional. Paz will be subject to international bonus pool spending limitations if and when he reaches the states.

Why should this post be showing up on a Yankees blog? Because we all know it usually takes a year or two for this whole process to get sorted out. First Paz has to establish residency in another country before being cleared as a free agent by Major League Baseball. Then you have the private workouts and all the hoopla around the outfielder before he finally signs and only signs to start out in the minor leagues. By the time he gets all that done and behind him the Yankees restrictions in the international market may be over.

As of right now the Yankees cannot spend more than $300K on a single prospect on the international market but in two signing periods, one which ends this July, the Yankees can offer a then 23-year old rookie with a ton of promise whatever amount of money they want. Just how they like it.

Reliever Jacob Lindgren Placed on DL with Elbow Injury

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

Jacob Lindgren, the Yankees second round pick in the 2014 draft, was placed on the disabled list by the High-A Tampa Yankees Saturday with an undisclosed elbow injury. It’s been a disappointing start to the year for Lindgren, who went from an early favorite to break camp in the New York bullpen to being demoted in the first round of roster cuts in spring training. Ranked the 11th best prospect in the organization by, Lindgren missed the second half of 2015 following elbow surgery in June.

 He was never known for having strong control, but it’s been abysmal in the last two months. Lindgren walked nine batters and hit one in his seven innings of work for Tampa. A lingering issue with his elbow would be a welcome explanation for his struggles. Lindgren’s pure stuff has been as good as advertised since the team drafted him. He combines a mid-90’s heater with an absolutely filthy wipeout slider. The only thing holding him back from becoming a late inning option for New York is his control.

 The team hasn’t released any information as to the extent of the injury, but hopefully this is not another TJ surgery. Four prominent Yankees’ MiLB arms have suffered torn UCLs in the past month, including Nick Rumbelow, Branden Pinder, Domingo German, and Ty Hensley.

Weekly Check In: James Kaprielian

Here we go kicking off the second week of our weekly check in posts with the top prospects in the New York Yankees system. James Kaprielian kicked off our series of posts last week after I deemed him the closest Yankees prospects to the Major Leagues after a strong debut season in 2015, an equally strong spring and a dominant start to his 2016 season.

Kaprielian enters his first full professional season already deemed to be MLB ready after pitching for UCLA in college. Kaprielian hasn't allowed that to be enough though as he has seemingly worked harder and harder with the team and added a couple ticks in velocity, which never hurts.

Kaprielian went from being considered a #3 type starter as his ceiling to a potential #2 or even an ace depending on how his development continues. This could be the draft pick that defines Brian Cashman's tenure as a Yankee because he hasn't gotten many right in the first round. That all is forgotten is Kaprielian becomes what we all think he can be.

2016 22 A+ 2 1 1.50 3 3 18.0 8 6 3 1 3 22 0.611 4.0 0.5 1.5 11.0

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/25: Joe DiMaggio in Monument Park

On this day in 1999 the New York Yankees unveiled their fifth monument in Monument Park when a plaque honoring Joe DiMaggio was placed there. Joe D died the month prior at age 84 and joined Miller Huggins, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and Mickey Mantle in Monument Park.

Also on this day in 1933 the benches cleared at Griffith Stadium between the New York Yankees and the Washington Senators. Yankee outfielder Ben Chapman spikes Buddy Myer and then responds by punching the Senators Jewish second baseman and hurling anti-Semitic remarks at the injured infielder. This was an ugly brawl that lasted 20 minutes and spread into the stands with over 300 fans getting into the action. Suspensions and fines followed for the player’s involvement.

Also on this day in 1933 Yankees rookie pitcher Russ Van Atta goes 4-4 and shuts out the Washington Senators 16-0 in his Major League debut. Kid seems like a keeper to me.

Finally on this day in 1904 Jack Chesbro and the New York Highlanders hand the Washington Senators their eight straight loss, making the Sens 0-8 to start the season, when New York won 4-1. Chesbro picked up his first of his record 41 wins he will get that season. Insane by today's standards.