Saturday, May 7, 2016

Greedy Pinstripes Saturday Night Open Thread

The Yankees game is in the books and so is my energy level. You know the older I get and the more I have kids the more I realize how old I’m truly getting. I used to be able to go all day and go all night and run on two hours of sleep like it was nothing. Now there isn’t enough Monster Energy drinks and Starbucks in the world for me some days. Another Saturday spent with the family, watching a Yankees game and cutting grass. Whoever told me adulting was a good thing lied to me.

So I leave you with this open thread for the night. Talk about whatever. Enjoy!

Price Is Wrong In New York, Yanks Cruise To 8-2 Victory

      A night after hitting double digits in the win column, New York faced Boston in game two of the three-game set at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox sent ace David Price and his 6.14 ERA to the mound to face New York. Coming off a big win last night, the Yankees countered with Nathan Eovaldi,  hoping he could pitch deep into the game in route to a series victory.  With all of the craziness that took place in last nights game, laden with missed calls and managerial ejections, the Red Sox came in to today's game with a chip on their shoulder. But, an ace-like performance from "Nasty Nate" and an offense of outburst by the bombers knocked that chip right off. 
     The Red Sox would draw first blood, coming off an RBI single by Brock Holt in the top of the second inning. However, New York would not stay behind for long. In the bottom of the fourth, the struggling Chase Headley lead off the inning with a single and advanced to second base on a bunt by Didi Gregorius. Then, an unlikely run-producer, backup catcher Austin Romine drilled a double into the gap in right center, scoring Headly and tying the game at one. 
     Price found himself in trouble all afternoon long. In the bottom of the fourth, he allowed back to back singles to Starlin Castro and Mark Teixeira to lead off the inning. Because Elsbury was missing today's game due to injury, Dustin Ackley received the start and had a phenomenal at bat against Price, drawing a walk and loading the bases. With two outs, Didi saved the day, smoking a double into centerfield, clearing the bases and giving the Yankees a 4-1 lead. And then in the bottom of the fifth, after walking Castro and Hicks, the left he was bitten by yet another two-out RBI hit, this time Carlos Beltran laced a double into left, scoring both runners, extending the lead to four and chasing Price from the game. Only in 19 out of 220 career starts has David Price allowed six or more runs in an outing, and seven of those instances were against the Yankees. 
     The offensive on slot would continue even with the ace out of the game. In the bottom of the sixth,  relief pitcher Matt Barnes allowed back to back singles to Gregorius and Romine. After walking Brett Gardner on four pitches, the right-hander served up a sacrifice fly to Aaron Hicks, scoring Gregorius and pushing the lead even farther, 7-2. In the bottom of the eighth, Chase Headley recorded his second hit of the afternoon, leading off the inning with a single against newly inserted reliever Sean O'Sullivan. After Gregorius flew out to centerfield, the pleasantly surprising afternoon for the unsung hero Austin Romine would continue. The back-up backstop lined his second double into left center, scoring Headly and tying the bow on a huge offensive day for the Bronx Bonbers. 
     What gets lost in an offensive explosion like today is that "Nasty Nate" lived up to his nickname. With Delin Betances being unavailable for today's game, the Yankees needed him to pitch deep into the game and pitch well, and boy did the Texas born right-hander ever deliver. Keeping Red Sox hitters off-balance all afternoon, the flamethrower was still touching 100 mph in the seventh. All told, Eovaldi pitched eight innings, allowing just six hits, striking out six and gave up just the two earned runs, the second coming off a solo homerun by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth. 
     Today, I finally had fun watching my Yankees play the way I know they are capable of playing. Let's hope it continues tomorrow night, as New York looks to finish off this sweep of the rival Red Sox, beginning at 8:05 PM ET on ESPN.

David Ortiz & Perennial Yankees Killers During my Lifetime

As much as I hate to admit this you have to respect what David Ortiz has done in his major league career. Sure you have the controversy of the failed steroid test and the Mitchell Report inclusion that wasn’t an inclusion because a Boston-area Senator was in charge of the report but if you can presume that he has been clean since, and every drug test he’s taken has suggested that he is, then you still have to think he has Hall of Fame numbers. Numbers, I didn’t say credentials. While his Hall of Fame credentials may always be up for debate and the fact that he has as many failed tests as Alex Rodriguez has may be as well you cannot deny the fact that he’s been a perennial Yankee killer. In fact there have been quite a few during my lifetime and we will showcase them here this evening in honor, for lack of a better word, of Ortiz.

Ortiz once had a teammate, speaking of failed steroid tests, in Manny Ramirez that made up one of the toughest middle-of-the-lineups in my recent memory. Ramirez faced the Yankees in 203 games and hit a monster 55 home runs against them with 165 RBI and a .322 batting average. Ramirez killed just about every team though. 

Speaking of Ortiz, Ramirez and the Red Sox there was a trio of starting pitchers that the Yankees simply could not get to on most nights consistently. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey all shut down some of the greatest offenses of my lifetime starting with Beckett in the 2003 World Series and ending with Lester and Lackey most recently before being traded away by the Red Sox. 

Speaking of the pitching side of things I can remember Roy Halladay mowing down Yankees with tons of consistency. It didn’t matter who the mighty Yankees sent at Halladay in his years with the Toronto Blue Jays the man they called Doc set them down with ease. I halfway remember skipping games on purpose that he pitched to save myself the aggravation. 

The final pair of teammates to completely torment the Yankees date back to my early years as a fan. Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez absolutely destroyed the New York Yankees. I can remember Tino Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr. trading home runs on a Saturday afternoon in the Bronx more than once and it always seemed like the Mariners got the better of the Yankees. It started in 1995 in the ALDS and it went on that way until the Yankees beat the 116-win Mariners in 2001. Edgar killed Yankees closer Mariano Rivera at the plate, one of the few that could say that, and Griffey killed anyone and everyone put in front of him during his prime. All because as a child he got kicked out of the Yankees clubhouse when his father, Ken Griffey Sr., was a member of the team. Way to hold a grudge kid!

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 5/6

The New York Yankees have returned home to the Bronx with some fresh blood and new faces in James Pazos and Ben Gamel to add to the rivalry between themselves and the Boston Red Sox. These two teams went toe-to-toe last night in the Bronx and they are right back at it again some 14 hours later with a great pitching matchup for the fans. The Yankees will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound this afternoon in the Bronx to face off against David Price of the Boston Red Sox in a rematch of last Sunday’s ESPN televised game. This game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside of Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

To see tomorrow night’s encore in the Bronx between these two clubs you can either watch it at home on ESPN or you can see it live by clicking the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog. That link will take you to our friends over at Ticket Monster who give Greedy Pinstripes readers cheap premium tickets without attaching any sort of fees or shipping costs to the price of the tickets while allowing you to sit in those seats you are “unworthy” to sit in according to some in the Yankees organization. If you choose the former rather than the spiteful latter then you can at least following along on twitter with us by giving @GreedyStripes a follow as we discuss each and  every Yankees game this season.

Nathan Eovaldi is ready to take the mound, the Yankees offense looks ready and David Ortiz is in the house. It’s going to be another great Yankees and Red Sox game, I just have that feeling. It’s always a good Yankees and Red Sox game though when New York wins so Go Yankees!!

Meet a Prospect: Ben Gamel

Ben Gamel has seemingly finally put it all together for the New York Yankees. Gamel enjoyed a spectacular season in 2015 spending much of it in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Gamel led off for the eventual playoff bound RailRiders and played center field for the club in a strong season that eventually led to a Minor League Player of the Year Award. Gamel was finally rewarded for his hard work and dedication to the sport and now the Yankees have rewarded him with his first call up to the Major Leagues this week, let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: Ben Gamel Edition.

Gamel fits the Brett Gardner mold. He has a small frame at just 5'11" and 185 lbs. and Gamel lives and dies on his speed and defense. Gamel played center field and led off for much of the 2015 season with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders and is a left-handed hitter, again just like Gardner.

Gamel began adding extra-base hits and stolen bases to his repertoire in 2012 while with the Double-A Trenton Thunder and ended up leading the club to a Eastern League championship that season. Any scout will tell you that the power tool will be the last to develop and that has definitely been the case with Gamel. Gamel can put on an absolute show in batting practice though so and feels like it may finally be translating into the games.

Gamel is a very patient hitter and is never going to be a 30-home run guy, that's not his game. What Gamel will bring you is singles, singles turned into double with his legs and aggressiveness, doubles turned into triples for the same reasons and a constant presence on the base-paths that opposing starting pitchers are forced to pay attention to at all times. Gamel expects to play left field in the Major Leagues due to an average arm although he could survive at center field if needed to. In a lot of ways Gamel compares to Angel Pagan of the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants.

This winter during prospects month I said the following and I couldn’t have hit the nail on the head any better:

“Gamel comes with an ETA of 2016. One injury and Gamel is there.”

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 5/6

You know what a day game after a night game means to an overprotective manager like Joe Girardi, don’t expect many regulars in the lineup this afternoon in the Bronx for the second matchup between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. While Joe Girardi could post the lineup any minute now, if he hasn’t already, one thing we know for sure is the pitching matchup. We know it’s going to be a tough matchup for New York as the Yankees send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound to face off once again against the Red Sox ace David Price.

Eovaldi did not pitch well last time out against the Boston Red Sox and will look for much better results today I the Bronx. Eovaldi allowed six runs on 10 hits in just five innings of work last time out inside Fenway Park in an 8-7 Sunday night loss for the Yankees. The start before that was where he took his no-hit bid into the 7th inning against the Texas Rangers so we are left with yet another case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Eovaldi. Who shows up this afternoon? Place your bets now.

Price was not the dominant lefty-handed ace that the Red Sox were hoping to acquire for the first three or four starts of the regular but he has turned it around since giving Boston a glimmer of hope. Price has been especially good lately on the road going 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA at home with 24 K’s in just 14 innings. Price will be on the road once again this afternoon but he has pitched so much in the Bronx during his career it may feel like a home game to him today.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside of Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. The Yankees have done well against Price in his career all things considered but they will need much more offense in this game than they got the last time they faced Price if they want to come out of this with a victory. The Yankees pitching may finally be settling down a bit and now we just need the offense to come alive to make a run. Come alive. Make a run. Go Yankees!

Weekly Prospects Check In: Robert Refsnyder

The New York Yankees made a roster move for the weekend, presumably, to call up Ben Gamel to the Major Leagues after winning the Minor League Baseball Player of the Year Award in 2015 while Robert Refsnyder stays behind in Triple-A seemingly learning yet another new position. Well it’s technically a position he already knows and a position he played in college, right field, but him moving to the outfield this week as a precursor to Gamel being called up now makes a whole lot of sense looking back in hindsight.

This post is a check in with Refsnyder though, more on Gamel later, and Refsnyder is seemingly doing anything and everything he can to help his cause and help him ride the Scranton Shuttle to the Bronx. Refsnyder knows second base, has been working at third base and is now taking reps back in the outfield for the first time since being an Arizona Wildcat. Refsnyder just wants to play and he just wants to win and to me that is more important in some cases then talent, stats or anything that can be quantified like that.

Refsnyder once again finds himself biding his time and working out at a new position all for the love of the game and the will to play inside the greatest stadium in Major League Baseball history in my opinion. We need more “Yankees” around and less hired mercenaries if you ask me, but that’s just if you ask me.


Recap: Yankees 3, Red Sox 2

If there's a lesson to be learned from Friday night's Yankees game, it's that sometimes clubs just win -- even if they don't necessarily deserve to.

Jacoby Ellsbury left in the second inning with a tight hip, the defense made numerous misplays in the outfield and Andrew Miller was mediocre in relief.

Yet the Yankees somehow snuck past the Red Sox, 3-2, in an ugly contest for the ages at Yankee Stadium.

David Ortiz crushed a two-run shot off Michael Pineda in the first, and the Yankees evened it up with individual runs of their own in the first and second. Both were courtesy of much-needed two-out hits off right-hander Rick Porcello -- an RBI double from Brian McCann and an RBI single from Dustin Ackley.

But the real fun in this one came later on.

Pineda escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth with a Jackie Bradley Jr. double play, clinching for the youngster his third quality start of the season. The Yankees then took the lead when Aaron Hicks homered off Porcello in the seventh, and for the first time in a while, the Pinstripes seemed ready for a clean victory. 

The ninth ensured no such success would occur without drama. 

The Red Sox again loaded the bases with a trio of singles, bringing up the red-hot Ortiz with one out. Ortiz worked the count to 3-1 against the aforementioned Miller, who was struggling with his command.

Miller appeared to deal a slider down and away, clearly out of the zone. 

Inexplicably, though, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa called the pitch a strike, drawing an argument from Boston manager John Farrell that resulted in the skipper's ejection. Immediately afterwards, Miller caught Ortiz looking with another breaking ball, and from there all hell broke loose.

The veteran, infuriated by the course of events, was tossed by Kulpa as well, having joined Farrell in (perhaps justifiably) losing his temper.

Miller followed the controversy with one more strikeout of Hanley Ramirez, and the Yankees had prevailed just like that. 

What else did you expect from this rivalry? 

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees improved to 10-17 on the year, still the worst record in the AL East. They trail the first-place Orioles by six games. 

NEXT UP: The Yankees and Red Sox continue this series on Saturday. Nathan Eovaldi (1-2, 5.46 ERA) and David Price (4-0, 6.14 ERA) are slated to be your starters, with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. ET. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 5/7: Torre Wins 1,000

On this day in 2006 Joe Torre became the fourth Yankees manager to win 1,000 games with the team. The other three Yankees managers were Joe McCarthy (1,460), Casey Stengel (1,149) and Miller Huggins (1,067) for the record. Torre at the time was 1,000-645 after beating the Rangers 8-5.

Also on this day in 2000 the Yankees held Bob Sheppard Day at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The Yankees were honoring Sheppard's 50 years of service as the ”Voice of God” with a plaque in Monument Park.

Also on this day in 1999 the Yankees Hideki Irabu faced off with the Mariners Matt Suzuki in the first match up of Japanese starting pitchers in Major League history. Irabu would get the best of Suzuki as the Yankees beat Seattle 10-1 on this day.

Also on this day in 1966 only twenty games into his second season as manager of the Yankees Johnny Keane was fired by General Manager Ralph Houk with Houk returning to the dugout to manage the team after the firing. The Yankees were 4-16 under Keane and would go on to win 13 of its next 17 games under Houk.

Finally on this day in 1903 the rivalry began between the Highlanders and the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims beat the Highlanders at Boston's Huntington Avenue Grounds 6-2. The teams would eventually change their named to the Red Sox and the Yankees but the rivalry stayed the same.