Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Recap: Yankees 7, Orioles 0

With his club sinking ever so further into the basement of the American League, CC Sabathia needed to give the Yankees some hope Wednesday night.

And for at least one game, the big lefty earned all of his $23 million salary.

Sabathia yielded just six hits across seven scoreless innings, and though it took a while for their offense to catch on, the Yankees cruised to a 7-0 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Sabathia found himself in trouble throughout the contest, but the Orioles were never able to capitalize. Ultimately, Baltimore finished just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight on base.

The home team's struggles opened the door for the struggling Yankees' bats to pull away.

The Yankees jumped ahead with three runs in the sixth, putting an end to Tyler Wilson's shutout bid. Carlos Beltran kicked off the rally with a sac fly to center, and from there, an RBI single from Brian McCann and a throwing error by Wilson put New York in the driver's seat.

The Yankees had stranded runners at third twice in the first five innings, but once they grabbed the lead, their lineup didn't let up.

The Yanks added four more off the O's bullpen in the eighth, courtesy of another clutch knock from McCann -- this time a two-run double -- and RBIs from Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner.

Lead-off man Jacoby Ellsbury did an excellent job setting the table on the evening, going 3-for-3 with two walks and a run. Dellin Betances, meanwhile, escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam upon entering in the eighth -- striking out Chris Davis on three pitches before Mark Trumbo popped to third.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees snapped their six-game losing streak, improving their record on the year to 9-16. They remain last in the AL East, 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox.

NEXT UP: The Yankees look to salvage this series on Thursday. Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.87 ERA) and Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.45 ERA) are slated to be your starters, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Yanks Snap Out of It, Blow Out O's 7-0

     Trying to avoid going 8-17, which would be their worst start in franchise history, the Yankees took on theOrioles in game two of the three-game set in Baltimore. New York sent C.C. Sabathia and his 5.06 ERA to the mound to try to stop the bleeding. Rookie Tyler Wilson toed the rubber for Baltimore. The 26-year old righty has gone 1-0 with a 3.06 ERA so far for the birds this season. With it being announced that Alex Rodriguez would be placed on the 15-day DL this morning, Yankees would now have to overcome injury along with the slow start if they had any hopes of getting back in the win column tonight.
     Both pitchers worked in and out of trouble through the first three innings. Wilson held the Yankees scoreless despite runners being on third base in two out of the first three frames. Sabathia led off the third walking the number nine hitter, Ryan Flarity, and followed that up by allowing a single to leadoff hitter Joey Ricard. However, the big lefty proceeded to strike out hot-hitting Manny Machado and then got Adam Jones to ground into an inning-ending double-play.  In fact, both pitchers had shutouts going through five innings, with Wilson allowing just one hit and Sabathia allowing six.
     In the top of the sixth, Jacoby Elsbury recorded the Yankees second hit of the night, getting on base with a single and taking second on a stolen base. Brett Gardner followed with a single of his own, sending Elsbury to third base in the process. The DH Carlos Beltran drove in the first run of the game when he hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, putting the Yankees ahead 1-0. After Teixeira walked, Brian McCann scored Gardner on a single to right field, 2-0 Yankees. The next hitter, Starlin Castro, tapped the ball back to Wilson, who proceeded to throw it into the dirt in front of first baseman Chris Davis, scoring Teixeira and giving the Yankees a three run lead. I honestly could not remember the last time I looked at the scoreboard and saw that the pinstripers were ahead by three, or even just scoring three runs for that matter.
     Sabathia was absolutely phenomenal tonight. When the Yankees needed a stellar pitching performance the most, the big man totally delivered tonight. He threw a total of 99 pitches and allowed six hits, two walks and struck out six in route to his second win of The season.
     In the top of the eighth, Carlos Beltran doubled off of Oriole's reliever T.J. McFarland to lead off the inning. Mark Teixeira drew another walk and scored aling with Beltran on a Brian McCann double to right, 5-0 Yanks. McCann would score on a Didi Gregorius single, 6-0. Chase Headley would follow with another single and Jacoby Elsbury's perfect night continued as he walked for a second time (3-3, 2BB), loading the bases. Then, Brett Gardner, the ninth hitter of the inning, was drilled by a full count fastball, scoring Gregorius and raising some eyebrows as he stared down the O's reliever on his way to first base.
     Despite having a seven run lead, the Yankees bullpen did manage to make things interesting in the bottom of the eighth. Right-handed reliever Kirby Yates walked Joey Ricard with one out,  which was followed up with another Manny Machado double. Yates then walked Adam Jones, forcing the hand of manager Joe Girardi to use one of his big guns out of the bullpen despite the large lead. Delin Betances would put Yankee fans' concerns to bed as he pitched his way out of the eighth, leaving the bases loaded. Chasen Shreve would come on in the ninth to close the door on the O's, Putting an end to the Yankees six game losing streak.
     Here's to hoping they can keep the offensive momentum going tomorrow in the rubber game of the three-game series, beginning at 7:05 PN ET.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 5/4

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles are set to face off for the second time in their three game set this week inside Camden Yards with another tough pitching matchup for both clubs. The Yankees will send their big man and lefty CC Sabathia to the mound while the Orioles will counter with Tyler Wilson. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside of Oriole Park and Camden Yards and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

Just two more games before the Yankees return home to the Bronx and to Yankee Stadium to play host to David Ortiz, David Price and the rest of the Boston Red Sox. To see any of these three weekend games live click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to visit our friends Ticket Monster and snag your tickets. They don’t charge any sort of fees or shipping costs and you’re supporting the blog at the same time, a win win. And if you bring the Yankees a win with your presence then I guess that’s a win, win, win. Right? Also be sure to follow along if you can’t make it live on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a follow.

The Orioles have taken the field and the Yankees are up to the plate ready to hit some home runs so stop reading this and start watching. Go Yankees!

Alex Rodriguez to the DL, James Pazos to the Bullpen

The New York Yankees have lost their every day DH Alex Rodriguez to the 15-day disabled list after Rodriguez tweaked his hamstring in last night's loss to the Orioles. Rodriguez will miss an undisclosed amount of time with the injury and the injury could not have come at a worse time. Alex was finally starting to work out of an early season slump and was finally hitting for power at the time of the injury.

The Yankees used the 25 man roster spot to call up left-handed relief pitcher James Pazos. I'm pretty confused why the Yankees wouldn't call up a position player, especially with all the off days recently keeping the pitching fresh, but they know more than I do.

Let's Get Some Things Straight

After everything I've read on Twitter, Facebook, and in many other Yankees blogs, I feel the need to drop some truths.

"You mean there are people on the internet that are dumb!?!?"

Some of the things below are pretty obvious, but believe me when I tell you that there are people that don't "get it". It's like some people think Major League Baseball is no different than fantasy baseball, meaning a player can be dropped without giving it a second thought. Or that trading a player is simple.

They don't understand that it's more than the numbers a player puts up on Baseball Reference. Honestly, I'm sure there's a heck of a lot more to how a General Manager constructs a team than I'll ever know. But I feel pretty confident in saying the following things...

1. Jacoby Ellsbury is a Yankee, and chances are he's going to be a Yankee for four more years (that's after this season). 

There are only two ways that would change...

The first is by the team cutting him, which is highly unlikely when the guy we're talking about cutting makes over $20 million a season. No team in any sport wants to spend that much money on absolutely nothing, even if they have something great to replace him with.

The second option is by trading him. The only possibility of that happening is in a bad contract for bad contract deal. And while many people may perk up at that idea, I urge you to relax and realize something... the Yankees would not get back anything good in return. The return for Jacoby might make less money, or maybe for a year or two less, but don't expect that new guy to help the team any more than Ellsbury currently is. Or should I have said any more than Ellsbury currently is not?

2. Chase Headley is going to get every opportunity to play. 

That means he's likely to start at third base for the majority of Yankees games. Sure, the team has less money wrapped up in Headley than they do with Ellsbury, but they are going to do their damnedest in order to recoup that investment.

Does that mean the Yankees wouldn't cut him? Not necessarily. Chase is owed $26 million over two years after this season, which by Yankees standards isn't a ton. So I wouldn't be too shocked to see them spend that for nothing. But during a time where the salary threshold is on the minds of the team, I don't see it happening.

What about trading him? I guess there's a chance, albeit a slight one, of this happening. On the surface he's normally an average hitter with a good to great glove at third base, which seems appealing. However, his home run total being in the lower double-digits is sure to turn off any team even thinking of acquiring a new player at the hot corner, as that position is usually reserved for somebody with power.

3. It's perfectly fine to hope that Mark Teixeira and/or Alex Rodriguez get traded, but you better not expect it.

Since the start of the 2014 season, Teixeira has hit .233. That number is bad. But we all know Mark is no longer a high batting average hitter, he's more about power. Okay. Well, last season Tex averaged .28 home runs per game, and this season that average has been cut in half to .13 homers a game. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but even that isn't great as we're talking about a guy hitting around 23 long balls a season. You know how many MLBers hit 23 or more home runs last season? 42. And he's hardly a cheap rental for a team, seeing as how he'll be owed about $11 million come the trade deadline.

Alex Rodriguez is another name I've seen as somebody that could get dealt before this season's deadline, thus giving me another reason to roll my eyes. While he's unlikely to finish this season with a sub-.200 batting average, nobody should expect it to get much further north of that mark. He seems to be hitting better as of late, but when I see a 40 year-old with a slow bat it's hard to be very optimistic. Sure, a 25 home run season is a fine bet, but expecting another 33 home run total is probably a bit naive. And keep in mind that he's not a half-year rental like Tex would be, as the acquiring team would owe Alex around $30 million through next season.

"Who needs to buy Cuban cigars when you can just buy Cuba?"

4. Didi Gregorius is not going anywhere.

Although the majority of Yankees fans like the guy, there are a few that have wanted to see the Yankees rid themselves of Sir Didi. They look at his poor hitting this season, combined with his average bat in 2015, and see a totally replaceable player. But what these people tend to forget, or simply don't understand, is that defense at shortstop (or simply up-the-middle defense) is very important.

I can't tell you how many times since last season I've watched Gregorius complete a play and thought "Jeter hasn't been able to make a play like that since the early 2000s". For so long Yankees fans have seen decent to downright poor defense from the shortstop position, and I believe that has caused them to dismiss good to great defense at that spot as important.

I suppose the Yankees could trade Didi away, move Castro back to short, and call up Refsnyder to play second base again. But would the Yankees be better off? I'm not so sure. The Gregorius-Castro combo in the middle of the infield has been tremendous, and going from that to Castro-Refsnyder would absolutely be noticeable (and not in a good way). That wouldn't be helped by a struggling pitching staff, either. Besides, the offense might get better thanks to Ref possibly being a better hitter than Didi, but would it be that much better. I have my doubts.

5. Don't count on the team trading Brett Gardner.

Brett is one of the best trade pieces the Yankees could offer another team. He's a good to great defender, and not just in left field, where he's spent most of his time since Jacoby Ellsbury joined the team. Many teams would love to have his glove in centerfield for them.

He's also been an average to good hitter in each of the past 4+ years. That's not to say his batting average, which may not get above .260, is anything to write home about. But he can hit 15+ home runs, and couple that bit of power with the ability to steal well over 20 bases a season. Heck, in the right situation, I think 30 stolen bases is more than possible.

The most intriguing thing about acquiring Gardner would be his pay. He's making just $13 million this season, $12 million next year, $11 million in 2018, and his club will have an option for 2019 at just $12.5 million. Yes... "just". You know how much money he was worth from 2013 through 2015, according to Fangraphs? Over $70 million!

But the money thing is exactly why I don't see the Yankees trading Brett away. Unlike so many others on the team, here we have a guy that's not only out-playing his salary. but said salary isn't so high that it keeps the team from being able to spend elsewhere... should it want to actually do that again.

6. There's a good chance Starlin Castro is a Yankee for many years to come.

Nobody, whether they work in the Yankees organization or simply root for them, would confuse Castro for Robinson Cano. However, you have to remember that while Starlin will make $46 million through the 2020 season (assuming the Yanks exercise their club option for him), Cano will make $96 million during the same time period. Oh, and then another $72 million in the three years after that. Which is a round-about way of saying Castro is fairly cheap.

Don't get me wrong, I believe Starlin is hitting over his head right now. In fact, if his batting average is .300 at the end of the season, I'll eat the shorts I'm currently wearing*. But he should at least be able to average .280 this year, and for the foreseeable future. And while a double-digit home run total is totally doable, I don't think he'll flirt with a total of 20 homers by year's end.

And don't forget what I talked about with Didi earlier, as these two could anchor the middle of the Yankees' infield for a while. And I don't think any of us should be upset with that.

*Just kidding, I'm naked while I 'm writing this

7. Brian McCann is about as close to non-tradeable as you can get.

I'm not saying Brian McCann is a bad player. He's a good hitter, who actually had the most home runs among all catchers in the Majors last season. And Brian is among the better defensive catchers in the game, thanks to his ability to frame pitches and throw out attempted base stealers at a rate better than league average.

The problem with McCann is his contract. He's due to make $34 million through 2018, which is the third most among his catching peers. And note that one of the guys making more than him behind the plate, Buster Posey, is one of the better hitters in the league... regardless of position.

Even if the Yankees were able to find a taker for McCann, which likely means they'd have to eat a good chunk of his remaining salary, the problem they'd run into is the ability to replace him.

It's a little sad that McCann has pretty much carried the Yankee offense this season, having the 2nd highest OPS+  on the team. Yeah, Castro's OPS+ is higher, but I believe McCann's spot in the lineup makes his slightly lower OPS+ have a bigger effect on the offense. And anybody that would replace his at bats is going to bring with him a weaker bat.

Austin Romine has little experience in MLB, and his .251 batting average in AAA does nothing to help me get over that. Meanwhile, Gary Sanchez is only hitting .238 for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to go along with an OBP of .299... ouch.

8. Masahiro Tanaka's back has got to be killing him.

No, the health of his back is just fine. That thing about his back is my way of saying he's carried the Yankees rotation moreso than any other pitcher in the Majors. He not only has an ERA below 3.00, while every other starter has an ERA above 5.00 (two of them are actually above 6.00), but he's the only starter who is giving up less than ten hits for every nine innings he pitches.

Heck, every other starter has a won-loss record below .500.

I don't care how much or little the guy is making, because the Yankees would be a lost cause without Tanaka right now. Then again, I don't know of anyone that wants the Yankees to trade 'Hiro away, but just in case let me simply say "uh-uh".

And I didn't even get into his role on future Yankees' teams.

9. Luis Severino is still a big part of the team's future, so he's not going anywhere.

Luis is hardly the first pitcher to struggle early on in his MLB career. I've already pointed out how pitchers like Felix Hernandez had a rough early going before turning into a dominant pitcher. Not that I would put those type of expectations on anybody, but we're still talking about a guy that not long ago was seen as the future ace of the team.

Which is exciting when you see a guy like James Kaprielian throw like he has in the minors, and could be a part of a killer one-two punch for the Bombers for many years to come. then you can put them with the aforementioned Tanaka, to create a top 3 in the rotation that could rival some of the best in the game.

Unfortunately, a team needs at least five starters, meaning the starting rotation is not an area the Yankees should even think about subtracting from.

10. Ivan Nova is probably going to be in the Bronx at season's end.

There was a time I thought that Nova would make a good trade chip. He had started over a hundred games in MLB, and was at least serviceable in that role. You've all heard the old adage "a team never has enough pitching", so I don't think it would be hard for Brian Cashman to find a taker for Ivan.

But that thought all but vanished before the season even started, thanks to the injury to Bryan Mitchell, which will cost Bryan the vast majority of the season. I suppose the team could call on Luis Cessa to take Nova's place as the multi-inning reliever in the team's bullpen, but Ivan's history of starting makes me believe the team would rather hold onto him.

Keep in mind that Nova's return would be "okay" at best, so it's not like the Yankees would miss out on something big by holding onto him. I suppose he could be part of a nice package of players, which would get the Yankees an attractive return, but I could see the Yankees balking at adding him to said package. Besides, I don't think the other team would back out of such a deal just because Ivan wasn't included in it.

11. The Yankees are stuck with CC Sabathia.

Do I really need to expand on this? The combination of his salary, his ineffectiveness, and his poor health history, make him as unmovable as Pablo Sandoval at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Will any of us ever forget this moment?

12. Now for a real trade possibility.

While Carlos Beltran is certainly not the player he was between 2006 and 2011, he's still somebody that could contribute to many teams.

That's not to say he's going to come into a situation and turn a bad offense into a good one, but Carlos will put up respectable numbers across the board. And when you combine that solid bat with his ability to at least fake it in the outfield, along with his vast experience in the postseason, you have a guy that plenty of teams should find valuable by trade deadline time.

13. Everybody is on the lookout for starters...

... and the Yankees could very well have two guys that a contender could want going into the second half of the season.

Like Carlos Beltran, neither Michael Pineda nor Nathan Eovaldi would join a team and make them instant favorites to win the World Series. However, both of them have shown the ability to be a good middle of the rotation starter.

Pineda was not only able to finish 2015 with a solid ERA of 4.37, but for a guy with an iffy shoulder making 27 starts was quite nice. And his ability to strikeout around a batter an inning is sure to turn some heads come late July.

Then you have Eovaldi, who has never finished a season with an ERA higher than 4.43, and is a good bet to stay healthy until year's end, so that he could slot into the #3 or #4 spot in a team's postseason rotation.

Before this season I thought one of these two would pitch his way into an extension for the Yankees, seeing as how their rotation beyond Tanaka, Severino and Kaprielian was up in the air for the future. But with all the money coming off the team's books between this and next season, it has to go somewhere, and the starting rotation could very well be it.

I mean, where else will it go?

McCann and Sanchez could lock down the catching spot for a long time, Castro has second base covered, Gregorius and/or Mateo could keep shortstop warm for a while, the team has a plethora of outfielders to choose from up for a long time, Bird could very well be the first baseman of the future. In fact, other than possibly third base, I don't see a spot where the team has to spend any more at all.

So I say trade away one or both of Pineda and Eovaldi.

14. There is one place where the Yankees could really make a splash, and improve their future...

Instead of separating these next three players into their own sections, I figured I'd put them together. After all, the fact that there are three of them actually makes this the one spot where the Yankees could actually do something to make the team better, without hurting themselves much at all.

See, the Yankees have three guys that could be among the better closers in the league. I don't have to get into the numbers on these three guys, heck... I don't even have to say their names.

However, even though there are three of them, I believe only one of them is a true trade candidate.

Aroldis Chapman is going to be a free agent after this season, and his ability to shut an opponent down at the end of the game is utterly meaningless to a team that may not be close to a playoff berth. However, there will be plenty of teams not named the Yankees with playoff aspirations come the end of July, and any one of them would love to have the services of Mr. Chapman.

But why hold onto both Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller? Well, just look at the history of the Yankees. Since the mid-90s the Yankees have had a great one-two punch at the back of the bullpen. You had Rivera-Wetteland, you had Robertson-Rivera, you had Robertson-Soriano, you had Betances-Robertson, and now you have Betances-Miller. And seeing what those combos did over the years makes me believe the Yankees would never want to stray from it.

And look at the money part of it...

The highest paid reliever in baseball, outside the Yankees, is Craig Kimbrel at $11.25 million (Chapman will make $11.35 million this season). Meanwhile, Miller and Betances make less than that combined. And come next season, when Betances will be arbitration eligible, they likely won't make much more than Kimbrel anyway.

That combination of history, effectiveness, and cost make me believe Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances will continue to rack up strikeouts for the team for another couple of years.

15. And then you have the rest.

Aaron Hicks, Ronald Torreyes, Dustin Ackley, Austin Romine, Chasen Shreve, Johnny Barbato, and Kirby Yates are fine players. Heck, some of them could turn into solid regulars on the Yankees or another team. But for the time being, whether the Yankees keep them or trade them, I don't see anything of significance happening with their name connected to it.

So there you have it. It's likely that I missed a good point here or there, but this should give you a good idea of where the Yankees stand when it comes to what they can do this season.

So even if the Yanks can't make up enough ground to turn into contenders this season, you should at least watch some of these guys to see if they can help the team in one way or another this season and for years to come.

"But I want it now!!!"

Easy Ways to Fix the Yankees Struggling Offense

The New York Yankees offense is struggling in the worst way this season. Many key contributors have struggled or are currently struggling and the team’s issues with hitting with runners in scoring position are already well documented across the Yankees blogosphere. Brian Cashman won’t fix it. He’s already said as much as we learned earlier today. So how can the Yankees “kick start themselves” and turn this thing around without an addition or a trade?

You can start by benching Chase Headley. The Boston Red Sox had no problem telling Pablo Sandoval, who makes almost twice as much as Headley does before you make this about money, to ride the bench and earn his spot so why do the Yankees refuse to? Headley is hitting for zero power, he isn’t getting any extra-base hits and even his walks are negated by everything else. His defense is stellar at times and atrocious at others and his line drive percentages and other advanced metrics just aren’t giving anyone a warm and fuzzy feeling right now. Headley finished the month of April with a .150 slugging percentage. Let that sink in, only 12 players in MLB history have done that. Put in Ronald Torreyes, call up Robert Refsnyder, do what you have to do but it’s obvious that this experiment is not working.

Give Dustin Ackley more at bats. Ackley finished the month of April with just 16 at-bats after being donned the Yankees super utility player in the spring. Aaron Hicks has almost twice as many at-bats as Ackley and he has a pair of hits to show for it. Ackley gave the Yankees a spark and some good at-bats at the end of last season after coming off the disabled list and it bothers me to think he is rotting on the Yankees bench while Headley stinks up the joint.

Add chemistry. The Yankees 2015 squad was littered with team chemistry. You could see it on the field and you could see it in the dugout. They are painting a much different picture here thus far in 2016. Is Nick Swisher the answer for that? Is there a clear and concise answer for that? This I do not know but this team looks bored, complacent and lackadaisical right now and it’s showing not only on the field but in the wins and loss columns as well.

The final way to improve the offense is to fix the pitching. Send Luis Severino down, insert Ivan Nova into the starting rotation, move CC Sabathia to the bullpen, pitch Masahiro Tanaka every second or third day. Do what you have to do but desperate times call for desperate measures and the Yankees have to be feeling awfully desperate right about now, aren’t they?

Brian Cashman Refuses to Acknowledge the Problem He Created

For many, many years the biggest gripe among Yankees fans was the constant meddling in the player acquisition and trades aspect of the game. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was known for “getting his man” at whatever cost and at whatever risk and damage it did to the team in the long term. Just win and just win now. This caused many of the current Brian Cashman supporters to use this notion as a means of defending the GM and for a while it was true. Cashman was held down by bulky contracts he fought against giving and aging veteran players past their primes that he wanted no part in acquiring. That is still the case to an extent these days with current owner Hal Steinbrenner but Cashman has seemingly been given more power than ever over the Yankees and yet the team is still in a pickle, a pickle that Cashman refuses to acknowledge and refuses to fix.

No longer can one say, in my opinion anyway, that this is a Hal Steinbrenner led and assembled team. Sure he has had his hands in acquiring the likes of Ichiro Suzuki and Rafael Soriano and sure the Alex Rodriguez contract that is set to run out was against Cashman’s wishes but for the most part Cashman handed out most of these deals and made most of these trades. This is finally Brian Cashman’s team for better or worse and as a Brian Cashman apologist I find it hard to stick up for the man these days. Especially when he has basically told the team and the media that this is the team we are running with for now until he is “forced to” change and improve the team and that we basically have to deal with it. Say what?

Cashman told the media after the Yankees sweep in Boston this past weekend that he is not willing to bench Chase Headley much like the Red Sox have done with Pablo Sandoval. He’s just not going to do but don’t worry he finished the topic with this little nugget. “If anybody wants to earn opportunities in the future they have to earn it.” So let me get this straight, anyone who wants to replace Headley has to “earn” it but until then we’re going to sit on our hands and watch the guy set a new low in batting average, defense and slugging.

I’m done. I’m done defending Cashman and I’m done defending this team. I’m not giving up on this team, that’s a whole other story and a huge difference, but I am done spraying hope all over the blog and Twitter for better days and for the team to turn things around. Attitude reflects leadership and if Brian Cashman doesn’t care then I don’t either. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 5/4

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles will hook up once again tonight for a head-to-head meeting between the two American League East Division rivals. This is only the second time in 18 games that these two teams will face each other with the first set of the season coming inside Oriole Park and Camden Yards. The Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound who may or may not be pitching for his starting rotation job while the Orioles will counter with Tyler Wilson. 

Sabathia has taken the loss in two of his last three decisions and has not pitched especially well in any of the three starts either. Sabathia's leash is seemingly getting shorter and shorter with manager Joe Girardi while Ivan Nova continues to pitch well out of the bullpen making his case for the rotation. Sabathia may be pitching for his job tonight in Baltimore.

 Wilson will be making his third start of the season tonight after starting out the season in the Orioles bullpen. Last June was the first time that Wilson has ever seen the Yankees and he threw 3.1 innings of scoreless relief against them. Let's hope for some better results tonight from the Yankees offense.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside of Oriole Park and Camden Yards and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. New York needs to make some moves in the AL East Division and any potential playoff race and the team especially needs to take advantage of a good team like Baltimore when they are not at 100%. JJ Hardy is out for a while now and Adam Jones hasn’t looked right at the plate since the first week of the season. Don’t let Adderall Davis beat you and win the game. Simple as that. Well that and pitch well but who’s counting?

Go Yankees!

Lost But Not Forgotten

"I feel like we have a better team than we had last year, and we were second in the league in runs scored. I don’t think everybody just forgets how to hit or get on base overnight." 
That is what Brett Gardner had to say after last night's loss to the Orioles. And while we hear lip service like this from players and coaches all the time, I can't help but agree with him.

Mark Teixeira is no longer in his prime, and was actually out of his prime before he even donned a Yankees uniform, but he hit 31 home runs just last year, and had an slugging percentage of .548. If he were injured since last season then I would buy into his lack of power this season, but that's not the case.

Didi Gregorius is not going to be among the better hitting shortstops in Major League Baseball, however I don't believe he's going to continue to hit nearly 30 points lower than the .251 batting average he's accrued during his 368 MLB games. Nor will his on-base percentage remain 62 points lower than his career average in that department.

The chances of Chase Headley repeating his great 2012 season, in which he slashed .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs, are as close to "none" as you can get. But do you really think he's going to finish with an OPS nearly 300 points lower than it was last season?

And while Alex Rodriguez is unlikely to ever again receive a legitimate vote for American League MVP, I don't believe he's going to go from a .250 batting average last season to a sub-.200 one this season.

It's not just the offensive side of things that's not living up to expectations either. Two of the team's starters have an ERA over 6.00 right now, and two others have an ERA over 5.00.

"Come on, guys, I can't win every start."

Nathan Eovaldi is probably not going to give the Yankees the same 3.39 ERA that he had in 2013, but something closer to the 4.20 he put up last season is hardly preposterous.

Michael Pineda may never win a Cy Young, but you can't tell me he's going to go from a 4.37 ERA in 2015 to 6.33 the following season.

And Luis Severino may not be as good as the sub-3.00 ERA pitcher he was in 11 starts last year, but I don't believe he's as bad as the 6.31 ERA so far this season indicates.

Every team is going to have a player or two performing below expectations. It's rare for everybody to be firing on all cylinders at the same time, but it does happen. Unfortunately I think we're seeing the opposite end of that... just about every Yankee is playing their worst at the same time.

You see, this team doesn't need an overhaul. Sure, give Ronald Torreyes a couple starts a week in place of Chase Headley, until pitchers inevitable catch up to him and show us why he played with three different organizations last season. Perhaps call up Rob Refsnyder once he's more comfortable playing third base, and let him give Chase a break every few games or so.

Believe it or not, this team is not that bad. I'm not saying they're World Series contenders, but they shouldn't finish last in the AL East, either. I think this team simply needs a little shake-up. They need something or somebody to light a fire under their butts. And I can't believe I'm saying this, especially when I kind of bashed the guy when he was signed, but you can't deny this guy's ability to fire his teammates up...

Has Anyone Seen Mark Teixeira?

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Yankees first baseman missing offensively for weeks now and no one has taken notice. If you’ve seen this man return him to Yankee Stadium and/or call Brian Cashman at 1-800-GoYanks1.

In all seriousness though while much of the attention has been on Alex Rodriguez, until recently, Chase Headley and guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks the real question that Yankees fans need to be asking themselves is where has Mark Teixeira been for the past couple of weeks?

The Yankees don’t have Greg Bird to fall back on if Teixeira cannot perform or gets hurt and the team is really banking on a huge contract season from their first baseman for a plethora of reasons. One being that the team wants to compete in 2016 and the other being the presumable qualifying offer coming his way after this season. If he has a huge season it’s unlikely, even as he inches towards 37-years old, that he accepts it where as if he struggles or has a mediocre season he may be back in the Bronx for one more go around to give Bird all the time he needs after offseason shoulder surgery.

I can tell you one thing though, Teixeira’s stats to date have been neither mediocre nor have they shown any inkling of a monster season. Sure Teixeira has three home runs and 11 RBI as he entered Camden Yards last night for the series with the Baltimore Orioles but one must remember the old adage of “what have you done for me lately?” Remember that Teixeira hit two of those three home runs in the opening series of the season against the Houston Astros and his third home run came on April 14th of this year. Since that home run Teixeira has had just one extra-base hit and a whopping three RBI. This is not middle of the lineup caliber and this is not a great trending sign for a free agent to be whom wants to play for “four or five more years.”

Sure Teixeira is historically bad in April and he may just be priming up for a huge May, June, July etc. but until it happens I just can’t see it. The Yankees pitching staff has been inconsistent and horrible outside of the bullpen and Masahiro Tanaka for the most part and the pressure of being behind in almost every single game is spilling over to the offense. It’s obvious and it’s going to take a village to raise this child and at the head of that village has to be Mark Teixeira or the Yankees are in serious, serious trouble. 

Weekly Prospects Check In: Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees need a shot in the arm not only offensively but in the youth department as well. The Yankees have looked old this far this season and they have under-exceeded expectations that most fans and personnel inside the organization had for this club. It all started in spring training when players like Robert Refsnyder didn’t live up to the hopes of the team defensively at third base and it continued when Gary Sanchez was sent back to Triple-A after struggling to hit the ball with any consistency. Now the Yankees find themselves needing power and a spark and especially from the right side of the plate, could Sanchez once again provide that?

He could but in my opinion he’s likely not going to any time soon. The Yankees seem to want to delay his free agency by a season keeping by him in the minor leagues for a few more weeks and the team frankly doesn’t have a spot for him on the team right now. Sanchez is a catcher by trade and has no other defensive upside other than at the catcher position. New York already has Austin Romine and Brian McCann for that while Alex Rodriguez has finally heated up as the team’s DH leaving Sanchez to toil in the minor leagues until he’s ready or until a need arises.

Sanchez may only be down for a few weeks but if he continues to post the stats that we all have come accustomed to seeing he may not be down for long after that. 


This Day in New York Yankees History 5/4: Yogi Berra & the New Jersey Hall of Fame

On this day in 2008 Yogi Berra was one of 15 inaugural honorees to be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Yogi was not without a "Yogism" as he called fellow inductee Albert Einstein "a pretty smart guy," although he did not think the Nobel Prize winner for physics would have made a good MLB manager.

Also on this day in 2006 Forbes magazine valued the New York Yankees at $1 billion making the Yanks the first Major League Baseball team to be valued over $1 billion. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were valued at $209 million coming in last in the publication.

Also on this day in 1981 the Yankees Ron Davis set a major league mark for consecutive strikeouts by a reliever when he struck out eight consecutive Angels batters in a 4-2 New York victory. Davis came in for the seventh inning and immediately got Don Baylor to pop up and followed to strike out the rest of the batters he faced en route to a save and a Yankees victory.

Also on this day in 1968 the song Mrs. Robinson made its debut on the Billboard Top 40. The lyrics in the song ask "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you."

Finally on this day in 1931 the Yankees put Babe Ruth at first base to take some strain off his legs and moved Lou Gehrig to right field. Gehrig commits an error in right and the Senators would win the game 7-3.