Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Greedy Pinstripes Saturday Night Open Thread

Hello and welcome Yankees fans and Greedy Pinstripes fans alike. By now the Yankees game is likely over, this was written a bit in advanced so I could actually go out on a Saturday night and be a human for once, and so is much of this Saturday night. The weekends go too fast and the work week goes by far too slow doesn’t it? Anyway before I ramble I will leave you with this open thread for the rest of the night.

Be respectful and talk about whatever you like. Have a great rest of the weekend everyone and a early Happy Father’s Day to anyone reading!

Beltran and A-Rod Homer, Lead Yanks to 7-6 Comeback Victory

     Looking to make it three in a row and get back to .500, the Yankees faced the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in game three this afternoon. Michael Pineda took the ball for New York today, sporting a 3-7 record and a 5.88 ERA. Pineda has been excellent in his last three starts, making some minor changes to his delivery which has led to a much sharper slider and better fastball control. For the Twins, Ricky Nolasco and his 5.17 ERA led the charge against New York. With Nolasco slinging a slider as well, the sweeping breaking ball would be a feature pitch on both sides of the ball all afternoon.
     Michael Pineda has definitely allowed opposing teams to score runs during the day this season, pitching to a league worst 7.89 ERA during day games. Minnesota proved to be no exception as they kicked the scoring off in the bottom of the second where Pineda served up a one out double to Max Kepler. Two batters later, Edoardo Escobar smacked a single up the middle that scored Kepler and gave the Twins a one run lead. And then in the bottom of the fourth, after allowing a one out triple to Brian Dozier, Pineda threw a room-service fastball to rookie Korean slugger Byung Ho Park that was deposited into the seats, making it 3-0 Twins.
     The Twins knocked Pineda out of the ballgame in the bottom of the sixth, where he was pulled with runners on first and third. Relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak immediately allowed a fly ball to short centerfield that was caught by Jacoby Ellsbury. Dozier did score on the sacrifice fly but Kepler was thrown out trying to advance to second base. Because Pineda was responsible for Dozier, he was credited with that run and ended up with a final line of 5.1 innings pitched, allowing four runs on six hits and tying a season high mark of nine strikeouts.
     The Yankees put runners on base all game long against Nolasco but didn't attempt their comeback until the top of the seventh. Carlos Beltran led off the frame with a single and scored when Alex Rodriguez launched his eighth longball of the season, an opposite field shot to right center that pulled the Bombers to within two. Nolasco was lifted to begin the top of the eighth and departed with a final line of seven innings pitched, allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out five. Carlos Beltran then tied the game when he launched the Yankees second two run opposite field homer of the game off of right-handed reliever Kevin Jepsen.
     After Andrew Miller worked a scoreless eighth, the fourth Twins reliever Fernando Abad led off the ninth by loading the bases. Abad walked Headley, allowed an infield bunt single to Didi Gregorius and intentionally walked Rob Refsnyder. Abad was then lifted for Presley, who gave up the lead when he served up a one out single to Jacoby Ellsbury that scored Higley and Gregorius and put the Yankees on top 6-4. Brett Gardner then put the seventh Yankee run on the board when he hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored Refsnyder, 7-4, and would prove to be a most important insurance run.
     Aroldis Chapman made the game interesting before locking down the Yankees third straight victory. After striking out the first two he faced, Chatman then served up back to back homeruns to Escobar and Suzuki that pulled the Twins to within one. But, the Cuban Missile would get out of it when he got Trevor Plouffe to ground out to end the game.
     Here's to hoping the Pinstripers can lock down their second four-game sweep of the month in tomorrow's fourth and final game, with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 PM ET.

Yankees Sign A Couple Non-Drafted Free Agents

Just a quick update here for you on this beautiful Saturday night. The New York Yankees have signed a few non-drafted free agents to add to their farm system this week. This is not uncommon for the Yankees who signed about five or six of these free agents after the draft last year if memory serves and thus far I could find information on two more the team added this season, Josh Gardiner and Woody Bryson.

Josh Gardiner is a middle infielder who has been playing for the Frontier League’s Schaumburg Boomers, an independent baseball team located in Illinois. Gardiner went to Radford University and was last seen hitting .311 in 23 games this season. There’s no word on where Gardiner will begin his professional career, although Staten Island seems like as good of a pick as any, or what he signed for.

Woody Bryson is a left-handed pitcher out of Villanova University who decided to sign with New York despite having his senior season ahead of him in college. During Bryson’s junior season the lefty made 26 appearances going 4-3 with three saves and a 3.35 ERA in 40.1 innings. Bryson boasted a 10.7 K/9 ratio in 2016 while allowing just 33 hits, just one of them being a home run, in 174 at bats.

Bryson could be a starter, a long reliever or a late inning relief pitcher in his career once all the dust settles. No one knows yet, the sky is the limit for this kid much like it is for Gardiner. The ultimate unknowns. Welcome to the family.

Live Game Updates: Yankees at Twins - 6/18

2:21 p.m., End 1st: Pineda works a 1-2-3 first. This one's still scoreless heading into the second.

2:40 p.m., End 2nd: Eduardo Escobar continues his strong weekend with an RBI single. It's 1-0 Twins early on.

3:36 p.m., End 5th: Twins now lead 3-0 after a fourth-inning two-run shot by Byung Ho Park. Pineda doesn't seem to have his best stuff today, but then again, the offense isn't exactly dominating either.

3:57 p.m., End 6th: Park gets another run in on a sac fly. Pineda's day is done after 5 1/3 innings.

4:08 p.m., Mid 7th: Yankees finally show some life in the seventh. A-Rod gets them on the board with a two-run home run, but they still leave two on base.

4:33 p.m., Mid 8th: Big hit! Beltran ties the game with a two-run blast to left off Kevin Jepsen, and we have a brand new ballgame.

4:44 p.m., End 8th: Miller comes on and strands the go-ahead run at second. Now it's up to Headley, Didi and Refsnyder to spark a rally in the ninth.

5:04 p.m., Mid 9th: Yankees take the lead with three in the ninth. After Fernando Abad loads the bases with no outs, Ellsbury rips a clutch two-run single off Ryan Pressly, followed moments later by a tack-on sac fly from Gardner. Just like that, the Yankees are three outs from clinching the series.

5:21 p.m., End 9th: Chapman allows back-to-back home runs with two outs to Eduardo Escobar and Kurt Suzuki, but the Yankees hang on. They win 7-6, improving their record on the year to an even 34-34.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Minnesota Twins 6/18

The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins for the third time this series in the blistering hot afternoon in Minnesota. Some days I don’t feel for the players in the uniform despite what they get paid but anyway I digress. We’ve got a game to get to and in this contest the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking to continue his recent string of good starts while the Twins will counter with one of their best in Ricky Nolasco. The game will be played at 2:10 pm ET inside Target Field and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees are close to returning home so click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to secure your seats now inside Yankee Stadium. You also want to look good when you get there so while you’re on the blog be sure to also click the TGP T-Shirts link as well to get a Jacoby Ellsbury milk carton T-Shirt for stealing home or any of the other great shirts on the site. Until then follow along with us on Twitter and interact with us by giving @GreedyStripes a follow or by “liking” us on Facebook.

Enough with the sales pitches, it’s time for baseball Go Yankees!

Meet a Prospect: Keith Skinner

The New York Yankees absolutely love taking talent in the draft out of Southern California and the state of California in general but every once in a while they take a local kid with a ton of talent and they did just that with their seventh round pick in this year’s draft. With their seventh round pick the Yankees took Jersey boy Keith Skinner, a catcher, with the pick and have almost immediately signed him to begin his professional career. Sounds like a great time to meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Keith Skinner Edition.

Skinner began his collegiate career in Fairfield, New Jersey before transferring to Seminole State for the 2014 season. Skinner spent a year there before spending his final two seasons at North Florida College. It may be because of all the bouncing around that Baseball America did not have Skinner ranked in their Top 500 list but it definitely wasn’t because of his stats. This season Skinner, a catcher by trade, batted .382/.466/.486 with 16 doubles and 40 RBI in his age 22 season.

Skinner is a big guy for a catcher standing 6’1” and 185 lbs. but scouts believe he could stick back there going forward. Skinner unfortunately has not been a big power guy which is evident by his triple slash but he has produced doubles power that could always translate into power later as he grows into his frame and his body. I remember when Robinson Cano could only hit 10-15 home runs a season and he grew into his frame later on as well to add power so there is no reason Skinner couldn’t either, not to compare the two players whatsoever.

All told the Yankees signed the seventh best hitter in the Atlantic Sun Conference at an absolute bargain thus giving them flexibility to get either Blake Rutherford and/or Nolan Martinez signed. Great news and a local guy, what’s not to like. Welcome to the team Keith and welcome to the Yankees family!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Minnesota Twins 6/18

The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins continue their four game series tonight when they face off head-to-head in Game Three inside Target Field. The offense has been lackluster for both teams for much of this 2016 campaign so once again tonight it will likely come down to the pitching and the Yankees hope they are sending one of their best out there again tonight. I say hope because the Yankees still don’t know what to expect when they send tonight’s starter Michael Pineda to the mound every five days and neither do I to be completely honest but I hope for the best. Opposing Pineda will be Ricky Nolasco for the Minnesota Twins.

Pineda has pitched much better in his last three starts and he is saying a slight mechanical adjustment and the return of his slider are to blame for the resurgence. Whatever the culprit the Yankees will take his 2.89 ERA in his last three starts after posting a 6.92 ERA in his first ten starts of the season.

Nolasco has been a quality start machine lately for the Twins delivering his latest on Monday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Nolasco won his third game of the season in the outing to lead the team but has not pitched well overall in June. Nolasco’s June stats are 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA.

The game will be played at 2:10 pm ET inside Target Field and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. Saturday afternoon Yankees baseball in the dead heat of summer is like apple pie to me, it is part of being alive and part of being American. I love it and I love it more when the Yankees win… so win. Go Yankees!

Weekly Check In: Ian Clarkin

The future may be bright in New York if the minds and coaches down on the farm can develop the immense loads of talent on each of the Yankees minor league affiliates. That talent may start and end with a high-end pitching prospect the Yankees are trying to bring along named Ian Clarkin. Clarkin is fresh off missing the entire 2015 regular season as you probably already know and the sample size is now big enough for the stats to begin to matter.

When you come back from basically an entire missed season, he did get some work in down in Arizona with the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League, the first month or two is all about getting your legs back under you, knocking the rust off and getting out alive and healthy. Now it’s time for Clarkin to push and open some eyes again in the Yankees organization.

Promotions are happening and the time to move up is now. I’m just not sure if Clarkin has done enough to justify it just yet. 


This Day in New York Yankees History 6/18: Roger is Acquitted & Derek is Grand

On this day in 2012 Roger Clemens was finally acquitted of all charges after a ten week trial. Clemens was found not guilty to lying and obstructing Congress when he testified about his steroid use in baseball. Clemens claimed that his success later in his career was due to "over the top" work ethic and not performance enhancing drugs.

Also on this day in 2005 Derek Jeter finally hit his first grand slam of his career. Jeter had accumulated 136 at bats and 155 plate appearances with the bases loaded before taking one out over the fences. The grand salami ended the longest drought, in at bats and number of home runs, among current major leaguers without hitting a grand slam.

Also on this day in 1979 Billy Martin came back to manage for the Yankees for the second time, replacing Bob Lemon. Lemon replaced Martin last season and led the team to the World Series title before being replaced by Martin the next season. Martin will spend 95 games as the manager of the club and will finish in fourth place winning 55 of those games.

Finally on this day in 1977 the Bronx erupted into flames when Yankees manager Billy Martin removed All Star Reggie Jackson from a game in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. Martin later explained that he did not appreciate Jackson's "curious" approach to a fly ball that turned into a cheap double for Jim Rice. In the dugout the two began screaming at one another and had to be separated by Yogi Berra and Elston Howard. The Bronx was burning.