Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Former Yankee Martin Leads Jays to 8-4 Victory Over Yanks

      A night after getting back to .500, the Yankees looked to make it seven in a row as they faced the Blue Jays in game two of the three games set. During their six-game winning streak, New York is batting .287 as a team and pitching equally as well, with a 1.67 team ERA. Ivan Nova looked to build  off of a phenomenal outing in Oakland as he took the ball for New York, facing the most potent offensive lineup he has faced since joining the rotation. On the mound for Toronto was their best starter, although not there "ace", Marco Estrada. Estrada had recorded just one win in 2016, but has pitched exceptionally well with an impressive 2.61 ERA, and even more so impressively, leading all right-handed starting pitching in baseball with a 10.7 MPH difference between his fastball and his changeup. And, that nasty changeup would be on display all night long in New York as Estrada collected his second win of the season, ending the Yankee winning streak at six.
     The Yankees got the scoring rolling in the bottom of the third inning. Estrada led off the frame by allowing a single to Chase Headley, who advanced to second base when the next hitter Didi Gregorius laid a perfect bunt down the third-base line. Estrada would then load the bases with no outs by walking the nine hole hitter Aaron Hicks on four pitches. Headley came across home plate on a one-out sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner, giving the Yankees a one run lead. But, Estrada would get out of the frame with no more than the one run scoring, which was pretty impressive considering he started out the inning with the bases loaded and no outs. Impressive for Toronto but gut wrenching for New York.
     The Blue Jays would come back to take the lead in the top of the next inning, in the all-too-familiar "two out" variety. Nova served up a two-out single to centerfielder Kevin Pillar that was followed by another single, this one coming off the bat of the second baseman Devan Travis. Again, with two outs, Ryan Goings belted a double into right-centerfield that scored both runners and pushed the Blue Jays ahead 2-1. Toronto would add another run off of Nova in the top of the sixth when former-Yankee Russell Martin hit a solo shot to left, 3-1 Blue Jays.
    Nova would be chased from the game in the top of the seventh after he drilled Edwin Encarnacion with two outs. And, because Chasen Shreve, the lefty who replaced Nova, immediately served up a two run blast to Michael Saunders, the Yankees string of quality starts came to an end tonight. Unfortunately Shreve would get bit by the long ball again when Russell Martin homered for the second time in the game, scoring Justin Smoak and pushing the lead to 7-1 Toronto.
     The Yankees would retaliate in the bottom of the seventh when Estrada served up back-to-back solo shots to Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius, 7-3 Blue Jays. And then again in the bottom of the ninth, after Turano scored another run in the eighth, Austin Romine hit a pinch hit solo shot, his first of the season, that inched the Yankees to within four, 8-4, where the score would stay.
      Alex Rodriguez will make his return from the DL when C.C. Sabathia and J.A. Happ square off tomorrow in the rubber game of the series, with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 PM ET.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 5/25

Tonight the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will play in the middle game of their three game set inside Yankee Stadium with all eyes on the pitching matchup. In tonight’s pitching matchup the Yankees will send the solid Ivan Nova to the mound to face off with an old Yankees nemesis Marco Estrada. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees have an afternoon game tomorrow in the Bronx so click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog, snag a pair of tickets from Ticket Monster, play hooky and go root on our boys and CC Sabathia in the finale in the Bronx. If you can’t, adulting sucks I know, then at least head over to twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow. We follow along and try to live tweet each and every game every season and this season is no exception!

Nova’s ready and so is the offense behind him. Are you? Go Yankees!

Where the Hell is Johnny Barbato?

You heard me, where the hell is Johnny Barbato? At one point this season the New York media, bloggers and such were calling Barbato the Yankees “secret weapon” and now these same journalists are writing about how thin the Yankees middle relief is outside their three-headed monster. So I say again, where the hell is Johnny Barbato?

Barbato made the Yankees out of spring training this season and pitched many meaningful and effective innings for Joe Girardi at the beginning of the season. In an extremely limited sample size Barbato, ignoring the small sample sizes in ERA and FIP and instead focusing on things that aren’t ballooned up by one or two bad innings of relief, Barbato struck out over 10.0 batters per nine innings while limiting his walks and hits allowed. Does he have the Robert Refsnyder going on or something?

Listen. I fully realize that Barbato only faced 53 batters in 15 appearances and I am fully aware of his 4.14 FIP and 5.54 ERA and I am in no way saying that he will be the savior and the absolute answer to the Yankees middle innings relief problem. What I am saying is why do you give a guy a shot and he proves himself only to snatch the rug out from under him after a bad outing or two? That doesn’t happen when Stephen Drew goes a season and a half and couldn’t hit water in an aquarium and that doesn’t happen when Esmil Rogers, Chris Capuano and other veterans couldn’t strike out a little league team but it seems to happen to the Yankees prospects and I’m fed up.

I say one last time. Where the hell is Johnny Barbato?

Robinson Cano Would Have Taken Hometown Discount

I'm sure by now you've read the report from Mark Feinsand which said that Robinson Cano would have taken a discount to return to the Yankees.

Just in case this is news to you I'll go ahead and give you a quick synopsis...

A friend of Cano told Mark Feinsand that Robbie would have taken an 8 year contract worth $200 million to return to the Yankees, instead of the 10 year $240 million one that the Mariners were offering. However, Cashman and Co. stuck by their guns and wouldn't budge from their 7 year $175 million contract offer.

First of all I'm not buying it. While $200 million is a ton of money, we're still talking about a difference of $40 million dollars. Not $4 million... $40 million. Take a look at this picture...

That is a gold plated Nissan R35 GT-R. It is not painted gold, it is gold. This vehicle also comes with a 3.8-litre V6 twin turbo engine that can develop 545 horsepower. I'm not a car guy, as evidenced by the fact that I only truly understand about half of that last sentence, but I know enough that we're not talking about a car you can just go to your nearest Nissan dealership and buy.


With the extra money Cano could have taken from Seattle over New York (assuming the Yankees did offer that $200 million contract), Robinson could buy one of those Nissans for himself, and then one for each of the other 39 players on the Mariners 40-man roster.

Either way I'm glad things turned out as they did. Sure, the Yankees struggled with the likes of Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew at second base for 2014 and 2015, but I'll let the following formula speak for me on things as they stand today...

Starlin Castro + $200 million > Robinson Cano

Gary Sanchez Has Crack In His Thumb

Earlier today Brian Cashman confirmed that Gary Sanchez does indeed have a crack in his thumb, which occurred after being hit by a foul tip in last night's game.

It sounds like this injury is not bad enough that it will cause Sanchez to miss a large chunk of time. However, fans that think it'll only be a few days are probably being way too optimistic. I can see him going on the disabled list before the day is up, but make a return before too long.

As for him being promoted to the big leagues, I think that will happen not long after he returns. After all, it's not like Gary was struggling, as he's hit .290/.333/.529 for Scranton so far this year, and according to various reports has made strides on defense.

Meanwhile, Austin Romine has done a fine job backing up Brian McCann, hitting .273/.304/.386 in 47 plate appearances for the Yankees. Something that makes me believe Austin's name will come up in trade discussions here soon.

Nestor Cortes Wins SAL Pitcher of the Week Award

Cortes Earns SAL Pitcher of the Week Honors
Lefty tossed a gem in six innings against Columbia to earn SAL Pitcher of the Week

CHARLESTON, SC – The South Atlantic League has announced that Charleston RiverDogs lefty Nestor Cortes (2-0, 1.08) has been named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for the week of May 16-22 for his performance against the Columbia Fireflies on Thursday, May 19th.

Thursday night was the third start of the season in Charleston for Cortes. The left-hander commanded the strike zone and kept hitters off balance with a dominating showing, throwing 6.0 innings, giving up no runs, two hits, one walk, and 12 strikeouts. The 5’11’’ 190 pound crafty lefty used an electric fastball, changeup, deceptive slider, and a drop-off-the-table curveball to elude Firefly bats through his outing.

For Cortes, it is the second weekly honor of his career after being named the Appalachian League hurler of the week on July 13 last season.

Cortes, a 21-year-old native of Hialeah, FL, made his Single-A debut on Sunday May 8th, after spending last season in rookie ball. With the Pulaski Yankees, the lefty posted a 6-3 record with a 2.26 ERA in 12 appearances, 10 of them starts, while striking out 66 batters in 63.2 innings to go along with 10 walks. Now in his fourth season of professional baseball, Cortes touts a career 7-6 record with a 2.61 ERA in 63.2 innings of work after being drafted by the Yankees in the 36th round of the 2013 draft Hialeah High School.

The Charleston RiverDogs begin a three game series at home with the West Virginia Power May 23-25, before heading on a weeklong road trip to Augusta May 26-29, and Greenville May 30th-June 1. The RiverDogs are currently sitting atop the Southern Division in the South Atlantic League with a 27-15 overall record and a 5.5 game lead over the Asheville Tourists.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 5/25

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays continue their three-game series inside Yankee Stadium tonight with the middle game of the set. Last night the Yankees used the general rule of “if it’s high, let it fly. If it’s low, let it go” against the knuckle baller RA Dickey but tonight they can go back to the simple, yet effect, see the ball and crush the ball over the right field porch tactic. In the matchup the Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound presumably pitching for his job once again, remember Luis Severino is set to make a rehab start this weekend although it’s unlikely he comes back to the show right away, to square off with Marco Estrada for the Blue Jays.

Nova threw just 62 pitches in his last start against the Oakland Athletics while throwing six innings of work for the Yankees. Manager Joe Girardi decided to go to the bullpen prematurely despite the fact that Nova has allowed just one run and four hits in those six innings. Tonight marks Nova’s fourth start of the season as he looks to improve upon his 2-0 record and 1.65 ERA as a starter.

Estrada heads into tonight’s start fresh off a strong start last time out where he allowed just one run on three hits and a walk in eight innings of work. Estrada also struck out nine batters in the contest but did not figure in the decision. Estrada has not won a game since April 10th.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. In our Mega Prediction Game we run here on the blog year in and year out I boldly predicted a sweep for the Yankees this week but you know, I’ll just settle for a win tonight. Then I’ll settle for the same tomorrow. Go Yankees!

Ackley or Torreyes Should Go Down, Not Refsnyder

The New York Yankees were set to get back their 41-year old DH Alex Rodriguez before their series with the Toronto Blue Jays this week inside Yankee Stadium leaving many to wonder if Robert Refsnyder would be sent back down to Triple-A. I predicted Refsnyder would be sent down in an article that went live during Monday’s off day and whether or not that once again came to fruition remains to be seen but I wanted to speak on it a little bit this morning. Now I know what you’re thinking, here this guy goes again ranting and raving about Refsnyder like he’s the second coming of Derek Jeter, but it’s not going to go down like that. I am not going to rant, nor am I going to rave but instead I will simply suggest why I think either Dustin Ackley or Ronald Torreyes should go back down to Scranton and not Refsnyder.

When Refsnyder was called up he was sporting a .293/.336/.398 triple slash with two home runs and was fresh off a 16-game hitting streak in 34 games for Scranton and had been hitting right at .400 for the entire month of May. Refsnyder was called up and sat on the bench until Saturday when, playing right field, he fought off a 10-pitch at-bat that resulted in a RBI double off the wall inside the Oakland Coliseum I a 5-1 Yankees victory. Refsnyder has shown an ability to be a tough at-bat and a really tough out both in the minor leagues and in the Major Leagues yet the team continues to hold him back for a problem that they created, his defense.

I say they, and they being the Yankees organization, created because the team drafted him as a right fielder out of Arizona. The team felt it was needed to move him to second base due to arm strength concerns and then to third base out of necessity. Lately Refsnyder has been seen back in the outfield and back in right field specifically, guess that arm strength is okay after all, while Ackley rots on the bench. Ackley is rotting on the bench because of an ugly .152/.273/.125 triple slash in 22 games and may only be here because he is penciled in as the backup first baseman. By the way, have you seen him play first base? I think I’d feel more comfortable with Chase Headley at first base and either Refsnyder or Torreyes at third base but that’s just me.

Look, I’m done. I could tell you all about how the Yankees could mold Refsnyder into a Ben Zobrist type of athlete and how they could likely teach him to play first base but why? The team isn’t going to give him more than a New York minute in the majors just like they did last year and just like they will until they absolutely need him. He’s young, an athlete, energetic and he wants to win. I don’t know that by talking to him but I know that from watching him. The Yankees can’t get out of Refsnyder’s way and they can’t get out of their own way. I’ve been saying it for years and I feel like I’ll be saying it for years to come when he is elsewhere flourishing AGAINST us and not for us. 

Weekly Prospects Check In: Gary Sanchez

Another week down and another week down on the farm for Gary Sanchez. The bat is MLB ready and the defense and running game prevention is getting better day in and day out. Sanchez is suffering from the roster crunch and blocks from the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. Both McCann and Rodriguez are under contract for a couple more years while Beltran has a few more months inside the Yankees pinstripes before hitting free agency. Can Sanchez wait that long and will the Yankees make him wait that long?

Injuries happen and father time catches up to us all so I am in no way advocating that the Yankees will or should even consider trading Sanchez, but you know they are. See Jesus Montero, John Ryan Murphy and others as recent examples of this. The Yankees catching depth is not nearly as deep as it once was and Sanchez is at the top of that list so I feel that he’s safe… but it’s the Yankees we’re talking about and no one is truly safe.

So Sanchez continues to improve in the minor leagues and presumably chomps at the bit waiting on another call up to the Bronx. I hope it’s soon. Stay tuned. 


This Day In New York Yankees History 5/25: Mariano 1K

On this day in 2011 Mariano Rivera became the first pitcher to appear in 1,000 games for the same team. The 41 year old right handed pitcher compiled 572 saves and 75 wins during his 17 seasons in New York at the time.

Also on this day in 2002 former major league pitcher and former Yankee David Cone was hired as a part time television analyst by the YES Network. Cone'd deal included covering five games for the Class A Staten Island Yankees, he would be a radio announcer with WCBS for the June 14th game between the Yankees and the Mets, and would be a pregame and post game show announcer.

Finally on this day in 1922 Babe Ruth was called out at second base trying to stretch a single into a double and started a tirade. Babe Ruth threw dirt in an umpire's eyes and then went after a heckler in the stands. Ruth finished by standing on the roof of the dugout and calling the crowd yellow cowards. Ruth would receive a one game suspension, a $200 fine, and would lose his captaincy.