Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Yanks Go Two Games Over .500 For First Time Since Early April, Shut Out O's, 5-0

On another beautiful night in the Bronx, the Yankees shut out the Baltimore Orioles in game three of the four games set. Michael Pineda started for New York tonight and pitched his way in and out of trouble in his six innings of shutout work, improving to 4-9 and actually lowering his ERA to 5.25. For Baltimore, Yovanni Gallardo fell to 3-2 while raising his ERA to 5.69 as he got knocked around the ballpark all night long while watching his offense get shut down for a third consecutive night by the Yankee pitching staff.

Miraculously, tonight the Yankees snapped a franchise record of futility; 23-game streak without scoring in the first inning. Brett Gardner led off the first with a triple and scored when Carlos Beltran hit a sacrifice fly to center with one out, giving New York a 1-0 lead. It was the first time that the Yanks have touched home plate in the first inning since June 21st when Alex Rodriguez grounded into a double play that scored a run in Colorado.

Mark Teixeira extended the Yankee lead to two in the bottom of the fourth when he belted his eighth homerun of the year, a line drive solo shot to right field that left the ballpark in about two seconds. The long ball was an especially crucial run considering Pineda just got out of a one-out bases-loaded jam in the top of the frame, needing 81 pitches in total to get through the first four innings.

The Bombers continued their offensive on slot in the bottom of the sixth in support of Pineda's outstanding outing. Jacoby Elsberry let off the frame with a single and advanced to second when the All-Star slugger Carlos Beltran surprised everyone in the ballpark when he laid a bunt down to beat the shift for a base hit. McCann walked to load the bases and then Gallardo walk Teixeira to force in a run, extending the Yankee lead to three. In the bottom of the seventh, Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Torreyes, who had tripled off Gallardo with one out, making it 4-0 Yanks.

Carlos Beltran stayed hot as he went on to launch his 20th bonb of the season in the bottom of the eighth against Oriole reliever Chaz Roe that extended the Yankees lead to 5-0.

Pineda was outstanding tonight, pitching six innings of shutout baseball, allowing just five hits while walking two and striking out eight. Delin Betances, Nick Goody and Chasen Shreve combined to throw three perfect innings as they completed the shout out and extended their winning streak to four.

C.C. Sabathia will get the chance to complete the four-game sweep tomorrow afternoon in the final game of the series, with first pitch scheduled for 1:07 PM/EST.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 7/20

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles will continue their four-game set tonight in the Bronx with the third game of the series. The pitching has been good and the hitting has been timely but if history is any indicator of the future we could see both teams putting up some serious offense tonight. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda, more like Michael PiƱata lately, to the mound for tonight’s contest against Yovani Gallardo, who in my opinion has always been vastly overrated. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen locally on the YES Network and anywhere you are on MLB TV.

The Yankees are set to play one more with Baltimore before welcoming the 2016 World Series champions, because it’s an even year and all, to town in the San Francisco Giants and to see any of these games live in the Bronx click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog. Also be sure to click the TGP T-Shirts link as well to get a cool Jacoby Ellsbury milk carton shirt for stealing home plate not once but twice this season. It’s really cool!

Follow along during this game and every game this season either on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes or on Facebook. We may be broken and a little distraught and down and out but we will never give up on our team and you shouldn’t either. Go Yankees!

The Korean Baseball Organization Holds a “Bunt Derby”

Okay so without ranting and raving too much about the All-Star Game, the fact that it “counts” now and dictates which team will have home-field advantage in the World Series and the subsequent popularity fan vote that comes attached to that I think the Korean Baseball Organization could have something that could help spice up All-Star Game week in Major League Baseball. A bunt derby.

Yes you read that correctly, a bunt derby. The NBA has a skills competition and such before the three point shootout and the dunk contest, why not a bunt derby in MLB? Watching Giancarlo Stanton hit 61 home runs out of Petco Park was awesome but watching someone try to lay down a bunt on a scoring field that is designed like a dartboard sounds enticing as well. It would take a bit of skill and precision, not that hitting home runs doesn’t, and I think this is an idea MLB should look into. I think the fans would love it personally.

Even if just for a year or two to try it out. I’ve always wanted a skills competition added to MLB All-Star week. See who could run the bases the quickest. See who could call their shots and try to hit targets in the outfield or over the fence for points. See who could throw the ball from the outfield into a barrel at home plate, fun stuff like that. A bunt derby though, I never thought of that one. Good call KBO, good call.

Former Yankee Roger Clemens, Others, Return to Baseball!

Sort of. There are a few former Major League Baseball players returning to the baseball diamond for a game or two next month including former Yankees star Roger Clemens. Former MLB player, most recently of the Chicago White Sox, Adam LaRoche has assembled a team of former MLB players he has named the Kansas Stars to take place in the National baseball Congress World Series. Basically during this event a few college teams will get to go head-to-head against players they undoubtedly watched and idolized growing up as a kid. How cool is this? I’m going super nerd fan right now, I know, but this is an awesome gesture and I can’t wait to watch.

Here is the roster via the Wichita Eagle:

Chipper Jones, infielder
Roger Clemens, pitcher
Tim Hudson, pitcher
J.D. Drew, outfielder
Dan Uggla, infielder
Roy Oswalt, pitcher
Adam LaRoche, infielder
Rick Ankiel, outfielder
Brad Penny, pitcher
Ben Sheets, pitcher
Josh Beckett, pitcher
Brandon Inge, infielder
Jack Wilson, infielder
Nate Robertson, pitcher
Brett Tomko, pitcher
Jayson Nix, infielder
Laynce Nix, outfielder
Jason Isringhausen, pitcher
Carl Everett, outfielder
Ryan Langerhans, outfielder
Pete Orr, infielder
Koby Clemens, infielder-outfielder
Justin Germano, pitcher
Koyie Hill, catcher
Barry Wesson, outfielder
Ryan Kohlmeier, pitcher

The game will be played on August 6th in Wichita, Kansas. I’m sure it will be televised somewhere but I don’t have where just yet. Stay tuned. 

Bolded players denote former Yankees. 

A New Plan, And A New Dream

I just can't bring myself to believe the Yankees will have anything close to resembling a fire sale. Mind you, team management is not the same as it once was, but this team has never given up on a season.

And don't talk to me about 1989, either. Rickey Henderson was having his worst offensive season since his rookie year in 1979, and wouldn't have another season that bad until 1994 (to be fair, he did finish the season very strong with Oakland). Furthermore, the Yankees received Luis Polonia in the trade to fill in for Henderson, and Luis actually hit better for the Yankees than Rickey had.

If you squint really hard, and ignore the signature, he kind of looks like Rickey Henderson.

This doesn't mean that I think the trade deadline will come and go without the Yankees doing anything. The possibility of the Yankees trading Aroldis Chapman are stronger than ever. Even if this team has playoff aspirations, you don't need the vision of a hawk to see that upgrades need to be made.

And at least in my mind, the Yankees' biggest area of concern is the starting rotation.

Yes, the offense has problems. Their 388 runs scored is 4th worst in the American League. However, there isn't a clear spot on offense that they could improve on outside of the designated hitter. That is, if you see Alex Rodriguez getting a decent amount of plate appearances from that position.

Second Baseman Starlin Castro has allegedly figured something out thanks to the help of Carlos Beltran. Since May 1st third baseman Chase Headley has actually been a solid hitter, slashing .279/.344/.455. Despite a rough July so far (.200/.275/.257), Rob Refsnyder had a very good June (.296/.371/.370) and could handle first base for the rest of the season.

So what is it about the starting rotation that bothers me? Well, it's mostly about the future, since the current roster has zero starters signed past 2017 (Masahiro Tanaka could opt-out of his contract after next season). Yeah, the team has a nice prospect in James Kaprielian, but it's kind of hard right now to pencil him into the starting rotation. Then there's another possible rotation filler in Luis Severino, but he's had some trouble so far, making his future at least questionable.

As for what's happening with the rotation this season, the Yankees' starting rotation has some real problems...

CC Sabathia has been getting shelled lately, giving up 25 earned runs over his past five starts. I don't think there's a person on this planet that would use the word "confidence" when speaking of Michael Pineda. Nathan Eovaldi got rocked in all five of his June starts (0-3, with an ERA of 8.65), and hopefully he figured something out while spending time in the bullpen (he had a good start last night against Baltimore, going 5.1 innings while giving up just one run on four hits). And Ivan Nova had just two quality starts in his last ten games.

So here we are, 12 days from the trade deadline. So what do the Yankees do now?

Hop into one of these and either go back 7 years, or go forward 3?

First of all, we must realize that the Yankees can't get MLB players in exchange for Aroldis Chapman. Aroldis is a rental, so any team acquiring him would do so to win this year. Therefore they aren't going to trade away a good MLB player. That would be counter-productive. So the Yankees should look to get a top prospect for Chapman, with some other good prospects thrown in there.

I can see the Yankees trading Chapman to the Washington Nationals for Lucas Giolito. While Giolito was called up to Washington not long ago, he was recently sent down to AAA. That move shows me that the Nats do not plan on Lucas being in their rotation this season. At least not regularly.

Lucas Giolito is only 21 years old, and had a strikeout rate of 9.7 per 9 innings in the minors. In his debut against the Mets on June 28th, Lucas gave up just one hit over four innings. He did get roughed up nine days later against the same Mets team, though. But that doesn't change the fact that he was #4 on Baseball America's Top 100 Midseason Prospect list.

Yeah... #4 out of all baseball prospects. That might mean the Yankees would have to part with Andrew Miller instead of Chapman. If that's the case, then I might be for it, as long as the team can re-sign Chapman to team with Dellin Betances in the bullpen for a few more years. But for right now, I'm going to dream that Aroldis gets it done.

The Yankees could plug Giolito straight into their rotation. But one thing to keep in mind... Giolito's never thrown more than 117 innings in a season, and if he were to start every five days from now on he could be looking at throwing around 170. Is that too much? Would the Yankees have to push back a few starts? The old school thought is "yes", however I personally don't believe in being that careful with simple inning counts.

Now, since the Yankees are getting a top prospect and a couple of good ones for dealing Chapman, they can deal away some of their prospects to get a starter. This is where Daniel's sell and buy idea comes into play.

The Atlanta Braves have some catching issues, and they go far beyond the fact that their current starting catcher, Tyler Flowers, is currently on the disabled list.

Flowers is only signed through next season, and I doubt any Braves fan is excited about him anyway. His OPS+ this season is actually more than a hundred points higher than during his previous three seasons (108 vs. 83).

The Braves won't be getting any catching help from the minors, either. Their top catching prospect, Lucas Herbert, is actually only ranked 18th in their farm system. Besides, even if Herbert were higher he won't be in the Majors for a few more years, as he's still playing in single-A ball.

So I'm positive Atlanta would be very interested in an upgrade there, especially one that would be under team control for six years.

If you've been paying attention to trade rumors, then you'll know that Julio Teheran's name has come up quite often. Julio's current ERA of 2.79 is lower than it's ever been in MLB, but it's not like that number comes out of nowhere.

Last season Teheran's ERA was 4.04, while it was 2.89 in 2014, and 3.20 in 2013. What's better is that he's made 115 starts since 2013, throwing over 200 in both 2014 and 2015, showing some very nice durability.

"'Durable'. Unlike every part of my entire body."

Oh, and I should mention that Julio is just 25 years old, and signed for the next three years at just $25.3 million. When you take into account that JA Happ is 33, was a below average pitcher in the 5 seasons leading up to last year's offseason, yet got a three year contract worth $36 million, you'll see that Teheran is quite the bargain.

So here's my awful trade prosposal...

The Yankees trade Gary Sanchez, Michael Pineda, Luis Cessa, and Jake Cave to the Braves for Julio Teheran. I've read that the Braves are only interested in getting MLB players in return, as opposed to another crop of prospects. That makes sense, as any team should look to get MLB players when dealing away any player from their active roster. Thankfully, all but Cave have MLB experience, which could very well fit into what Atlanta would like.

In the end the Yankees would get two good starters in Lucas Giolito and Julio Teheran, improving their chances of having a good enough second half to make the playoffs, and they do so without doing much harm to their farm system. At the same time they're helping their future by having Giolito and Teheran under team control for three to four more years.

I would like to see the Yankees then promote one of Ben Gamel or Aaron Judge to handle right field duty regularly, while Carlos Beltran becomes the regular designated hitter. That would leave this team...

C - Brian McCann
1B - Rob Refsnyder
2B - Starlin Castro
SS - Didi Gregorius
3B - Chase Headley
LF - Brett Gardner
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury
RF - Ben Gamel/Aaron Judge
DH - Carlos Beltran

SP - CC Sabathia
SP - Masahiro Tanaka
SP - Nathan Eovaldi note: if he can cut down on home runs, he can still be a nice starter
SP - Julio Teheran
SP - Lucas Giolito

RP - Andrew Miller
RP - Dellin Betances

Is that a World Series contender? I don't think so. But those trades appease the fans by getting something good to great for the future, while appeasing team management by not giving up on this season.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 7/20

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles are preparing for Game Three in the Bronx and this is another big game for both clubs. New York is looking to “declare” themselves as GM Brian Cashman stated while Baltimore has the Boston Red Sox nipping at their heels in the American League East. Both teams need a victory and Buck Showalter will rage if it’s not his club which gives me extra incentive to want to win. I’m spiteful but so is he so I digress. In the contest tonight the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking to be Big Mike while the Orioles counter with their ace Yovani Gallardo.

Pineda seems to be resorting back to his old ways and that is not getting enough attention in Yankee-Land. Pineda has allowed five earned runs in each of his last two starts for the Bombers but will remain in the rotation because, according to Joe Girardi, “there are no other options to take his spot.” Yes Girardi see’s you Sevy. Please put your hand down.

Gallardo has not been able to go deep into games this season which is a disturbing trend for Buck and the Orioles. Gallardo went just five innings in his last start after throwing 30 pitches in the first inning of the start and has put a definite strain on a strong Orioles bullpen.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. I know this was a couple days ago and I know that I say this a lot but seriously, Buck needs to let it go. The Yankees are set to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of their 1996 World Series victory next month, a World Series victory that Showalter was fired before and could not see. TWENTY YEAR anniversary Buck. Quit hating the Yankees, quit aligning your pitchers a certain way just to mess with us. Quit having Kevin Gausman throw at Alex Rodriguez’s head after he hit a monster and eventual game-winning home run off your boy. Get over it and get over yourself dude.

Hey Buck….. Go Yankees!

Luis Torrens and a Cautionary Tale for Greg Bird to Follow

The New York Yankees were stunned to find out during spring training this season that Greg Bird would miss the entire 2016 campaign with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Many thought the future was now for both the Yankees and for Bird as Mark Teixeira strolled into what could be his final season in the Bronx but the injury brings up more questions now than anyone has answers for. How will Bird’s shoulder react to playing first base? Can he once again drive the ball for power at the Major League level? Will he be ready in spring training 2017 or will the Yankees have to find a one-year stop gap to give Bird ample recovery time? Again more questions than answers but the Yankees have a cautionary tale for Bird to follow in fellow prospect and catcher, Luis Torrens.

Torrens missed the entire 2015 season with a similar torn labrum in his shoulder and has made his comeback to professional baseball this year. Torrens had the luxury of being assigned to short-season Staten Island in the New York-Penn League so he had a little more recovery and rehab time but he doesn’t look like he has needed it much. Torrens hit .311 and had a .360 on base percentage with the Staten Island Yankees before earning the promotion back to Charleston with the Riverdogs where, albeit in a small sample size, he has gotten even better.

This is both an encouraging sign for the Yankees as Torrens was once thought of as a better prospect and catcher than Gary Sanchez and for Bird who has a recent example to model his rehab and such by. Torrens seems better than ever and there is no reason, assuming all the stars align, that Bird can’t be either. It’s a cautionary tale though as Torrens has been back in Charleston for basically a week and back playing professional baseball for a couple a months now since the surgery.

It is worth mentioning that Torrens, while it may not seem like much to most, has to throw the ball back to the pitcher a good 150-200 times a day including warm up pitches, actual in-game pitches, bullpen sessions etc. Torrens also has to hit where Bird may really throw the ball maybe 50-100 times in a game and rarely at full strength. Torrens had a similar surgery and is holding up with all the extra wear-and-tear and you have to think Bird will be fine too. Every body is different, every injury is different and every surgery is different but Bird is young, athletic and he’s already working out and rehabbing the shoulder so he should be just fine in 2017. Fingers crossed.

Weekly Prospects Check In: Hoy Jun Park

Photo courtesy of our friends at

You know all these injuries that keep racking up for the Yankees is really making this whole weekly prospects check in tough on me. Well you know the more I think about it maybe it’s a blessing in disguise because we’ve gotten to check in with many prospects that some may not have heard of or some prospects we may not have gotten to under normal circumstances. For example, today’s weekly prospect check in with Hoy Jun Park.

Park was part of that international haul the Yankees got a couple seasons back that cost the team $30 million plus with penalties and Park was not one of the names many salivated over with in the weeks leading up to the opening of the signing period. Despite the lack of hype Park has been solid since signing with New York and really opened some eyes up last year in Pulaski.

Let’s catch up with Park and see what he has been up to lately:


Hey Buck Showalter! Look Over Here!

Look who has more rings as a member of the Yankees than you. You mad?

This Day In New York Yankees History 7/20: Don Mattingly Puts Out

On this day in 1987 Yankees first basemen Don Mattingly tied a major league mark when he was credited with 22 put outs in one game.

Also on this day in 1965 Yankees pitcher Mel Stottlemyer hit an inside the park grand slam against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees would win this game 6-3.