Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 9/20

Here we go ladies and gentleman as the New York Yankees have made the trip to Tampa St. Pete to face off with the Tampa Bay Rays inside Tropicana Field. If a game is played in the middle of the state of Florida and no one is there to witness it because their home team is terrible, their home stadium is terrible and it’s more trouble than it’s worth to get to the stadium after fighting all that Orlando traffic, did it really happen? We’re about to find out as the New York Yankees send Michael Pineda to the mound tonight to square off with LHP for the Rays Drew Smyly. The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Tropicana Field and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

Three in Tampa before four in Toronto and a return to the Bronx to honor David Ortiz and finish the regular season. This is it, the final days of the regular season and boy is it bittersweet. Follow along with us this season while you still can by liking our page on Facebook and by giving our twitter account @GreedyStripes a follow. Also keep in mind that just because the regular season is over and all that it doesn’t mean we go into hibernation. Some blogs do but we don’t so be sure to check in every day as we continue to bring you more and more content daily.

Go Yankees!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

If you’ve been reading these check in posts you know that lately I have been speaking of a bias against the New York Yankees in these rankings and this week we finally get to test my theory. In case you missed it or you’re new to the blog, welcome by the way if you are, I have said many times that it feels like the folks over at the USA Today are simply waiting on the Yankees to fail. The team has a 6-1 week or a 5-2 week and they barely move up the rankings or don’t move at all while the New York Mets can have a similar week and be the week’s “biggest rise.” Well the Yankees finally had a bad week, and at the worst possible time mind you, so now we get to put my theory to test. Let’s see if the Yankees free fall out of the Top 15 after the Red Sox series.

After taking a butt whooping at the hands of the Boston Red Sox over the weekend before giving a couple games away to the Los Angeles Dodgers the Yankees dropped one spot to the 15th position. Not bad actually given the week the team had. Meanwhile in the rest of the American League East the Boston Red Sox occupy the 4th spot while the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays occupy the 7th and 8th spots respectively. Meanwhile the Tampa Bay Rays finished the week where they began it, 24th overall on the rankings.

The biggest rise of the week went to the Seattle Mariners who rose four spots to finish the week #12 overall while the biggest fall of the week went to the Cleveland Indians who fell just one spot (along with a few other teams including the Yankees) to the #5 position at possibly the worst possible time to do so. Oh well.

The Top Five teams according to the rankings are the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Nationals, the Texas Rangers, the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. Meanwhile the five worst teams in the league according to these rankings are the #26 Cincinnati Reds, the #27 Arizona Diamondbacks, the #28 San Diego Padres, the #29 Atlanta Braves and the #30 Minnesota Twins. Pretty predictable, these ten teams have been on opposite sides about all season long it feels like.

If you want to see the complete list and/or see your team and where they rank up head over to the USA Today and check out the complete list and power rankings. Oh and by the way, about my theory I talked about in the first paragraph of the blog post, maybe I was wrong. Just dropping one spot isn’t the worst thing in the world. Frankly, I expected more to be honest.  

Quick Hit: The Iron Man Streak Comes To an End

This is not as so much New York Yankees related as it is Major League Baseball related but either way you couldn’t have predicted it. Today was the day in 1998 that Cal Ripken Jr. and his iron man streak of 2,632 consecutive games came to an end. Ripken had not missed a single game in nearly 16 straight seasons, something that will likely never be replicated ever again.

Ripken finally took himself out of the lineup that Sunday night when the Orioles hosted the New York Yankees in Camden Yards on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Ripken had surpassed Lou Gehrig’s old streak against these same Yankees in Camden Yards as well so for the streak to end here seemed fitting and eerily coincidental.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 9/20

You know what one of the best things about Major League Baseball is? You play every day and you only see the same team on average of three games at a time before seeing another team in another city on another day. Thank goodness for that after the debacle that was the series with the Boston Red Sox over the weekend inside Fenway Park. I don’t think as a fan I’ve ever been happier to see Tropicana Field and those pesky Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays and the Yankees begin a series tonight in The Trop with Michael Pineda toeing the rubber for the Yankees and Drew Smyly taking the ball for Tampa Bay. Should be a good one as long as the Yankees pitchers remember how to throw the ball to a base and where a fielder can catch it. Just a thought.

Pineda has not won a decision since early August despite having pitched well enough to win in a few of those starts. His manager Joe Girardi has not shown confidence in the young right-hander pulling him before allowing him to finish the fifth inning in each of his last three starts including in his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers where Pineda threw just 82 pitches and was pitching a shutout through four innings allowing just two hits in the process.

Smyly has become suddenly prone to the home run recently which could work out in the Yankees favor tonight. Smyly has given up a home run in six consecutive starts but in five of those starts he has notched the victory so the home run ball may be a gift and a curse tonight for the Baby Bombers. One saving grace for New York though is that Smyly has struggled at home this season posting a 3-6 record and a 4.48 ERA in 13 starts at The Trop this season.

The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Tropicana Field and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. The days of needing a win and getting a win may be over but the days of rooting for the Yankees to crush the competition and the days of rooting for Gary Sanchez to reach 20 home runs before the end of the season feel like they just began. Go Yankees! 

My 2016 IBWAA End of Season Awards Ballot

The 2016 regular season is just about in the books and while some teams and their fans have the postseason to focus on unfortunately it looks like the Yankees and their fans do not. Math still says it could happen, and until it doesn’t I’ll still continue to root for it to happen, but you’ll have to excuse me if I’m looking ahead to the offseason just a bit. This season has been draining, hasn’t it? All-in-all though it has been a great season and there is a lot of good things to look back on when it does end either in October or early November for the Yankees.

Once the season is over though the focus turns from the games to the post-season awards and I, as a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, get to vote on these awards. I share my ballot with you this morning in hopes of creating a discussion. Leave it below in the comments section and/or drop us a line on twitter by tweeting @GreedyStripes.

Congratulations to all. 

Weekly Prospects Check In: Ronald Herrera

As we continue with our final week of weekly prospects check in posts for a while, probably until at least the Arizona Fall League, we continue to look at top Yankees prospects that are currently or were contending in postseason play in 2016. Today we look at another member of the Double-A Trenton Thunder whose season ended a bit more premature than anyone would have hoped. His name is Ronald Herrera.

Herrera led the Trenton Thunder in victories in 2016 with 10 and even made an appearance in Triple-A this season, although we don’t want to talk about that debacle of a small sample size. Herrera could start the 2017 season back in Triple-A after his impressive time in Double-A this season. Congratulations to you and thank you for all your hard work that you put in this season. 

2016 21 AA-AAA 10 8 3.94 24 24 137.0 138 66 60 10 38 131 1.285 9.1 0.7 2.5 8.6
2016 21 AA 10 7 3.75 23 23 132.0 131 61 55 9 35 123 1.258 8.9 0.6 2.4 8.4
2016 21 AAA 0 1 9.00 1 1 5.0 7 5 5 1 3 8 2.000 12.6 1.8 5.4 14.4

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/20: George Steinbrenner Joins Monument Park

If you asked enough people around Major League Baseball, especially non New York Yankees fans, you would probably get more negative comments that positive comments after former owner George Steinbrenner. Say what you will about the Boss but winning was most important to him and as a fan I truly appreciated that. On this day in 2010 the Yankees showed their appreciation for that as well when Mr. Steinbrenner was honored with a 7’ by 5’ 760 bronze monument in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. The tribute was to honor the recently deceased owner of the Yankees and saw Joe Torre return to Yankee Stadium for the first time after leaving the team after the 2007 season.

Also on this day in 2006 the New York Yankees, with a ton of help from the aforementioned Mr. Steinbrenner and his check book, clinched their ninth consecutive American League East division title. Quite the feat and accomplishment for the Yankees and Mr. Torre.

Speaking of honoring fallen Yankees heroes on this day in 1980 the Yankees honored fallen catcher Thurman Munson with a bronze plaque in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. The 32 year old team Yankees captain was killed last season while attempting to land his Cessna Citation at Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio.

Finally on this day in 1968 the Yankees legend Mickey Mantle would hit his 536th and final home run of his Hall of Fame career. Mantle played for 18 seasons and hit his final home run in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Yankee Stadium off pitcher Jim Longborg.