Saturday, October 1, 2016

Two-Out RBIs Theme In Yanks Win Over O's. 7-3

On the penultimate day of the regular season, the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles in game two of the three game series finale in the Bronx. Masahiro Tanaka was originally scheduled to start, but as the Yankees are out of playoff contention, they decided to go with Luis Severino. Just as in his last start, Severino was on a limited pitch count and would not factor into the final decision. Taking the ball for Baltimore was left-hander Wade Miley, who also did not factor into the games final decision as his bullpen let him down in the late innings. The loss makes things very interesting in the AL wildcard chase, opening up the door for Toronto, Detroit  and Seattle to make a move before tomorrow's last game of the season.

For the second straight game, the Orioles were first to hit the scoreboard, striking for two against Severino in the top of the second. Mark Trumbo started the rally with a leadoff ground rule double to right field just passed the outstretched glove of right fielder Tyler Austin. Chris Davis walked and both men advanced a base on a Jonathan Schoop ground out. With two down, Michael Bourn lined a single into centerfield. scoring both Davis and Trumbo to put the O's up 2-0.

Breaking a 0-19 slump, Manny Machado hit a third inning two-out solo shot to right to extend Baltimore's lead to three.

Because it was a spot-start for Severino. He was on a relatively low pitch count and was pulled in the top of the fourth. After a Bourn one-out walk and a J.J. Hardy fly out, Severino was lifted for right-handed rookie Jonathan Holder. The righty came on and proceeded to get Adam Jones to line out to left to end the fourth.

The Yankees were stymied by Miley through four, but finally got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth. Mark Teixeira led off the frame with a line drive single to center, replaced by the pinch-runner Rob Refsnyder at first. After a Chase Headley walk moved Refsnyder to second, Austin Romine nubbed a weak ground ball to the pitcher for the first out, advancing both runners up a base. With one out, Tyler Austin ripped a single to right that plated Refsnyder and put the Yankees on the board at 3-1.

The second Yankee run of the afternoon was scored when Chase Headley continued the "two out-out RBI party" in the bottom of the sixth, lining a double into left field to score Butler and pull the Bombers to within one.

The Pinstripers completed their come back in the bottom of the seventh as they came back to tie it up and knock Miley out of the game. Tyler Austin only seems to hit homeruns of the clutch variety, and continued that trend by blasting a solo shot to lead off the frame to tie the game at three apiece. Miley was pulled after giving up a single to the next batter Ronald Torreyes, leaving the game in the hands of right hand reliever Michael Givins. And the sidewinding righty bailed his O's out of the jam by getting Starlin Castro to ground into an inning ending double-play.

New York scored in four consecutive innings as they took their first lead in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Jacoby Ellsbury worked a one-out walk against Orioles reliever Brad Brach, advancing to third on a Chase Headley double. Austin Romine then came up HUGE with a sharp single to left that scored both runners and gave the Yankees the lead at 5-3. After a two-out walk by Torreyes that advanced Romine to second; Brach was pulled for Oliver Drake, who proceeded to serve up a line drive double to left by Brett Gardner that scored both baserunners to extend their lead to four at 7-3, where the score would remain for the duration of the ballgame.

Tomorrow, the final game of the 2016 season will begin with a special pregame ceremony to honor the retiring Mark Teixeira. And, as is the case for every major league baseball game tomorrow, first pitch is scheduled for 3 PM/ET.

…But Fire Cashman for Trading Montero for Pineda

“I want Brian Cashman’s head on a stake! How could he trade away our top prospect Jesus Montero for an arm like Michael Pineda?” That’s a dramatization of what many Yankees fans were screaming when news broke that the Yankees had indeed traded their top prospect away for Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners but it’s not an exaggeration by much. Many wanted Cashman fired despite attitude, maturity and defensive problems that were always surrounding Montero as a catcher and as a ball player in general. Many wanted Cashman fired for making the trade but as we stand here now four years later I think you can say without any doubt that the New York Yankees won this trade hands down. Especially after the latest bit of news involving Montero.

Montero, now a prospect with the Toronto Blue Jays after falling out of grace with the Mariners, was suspended for 50 games this week for, you guessed it, a failed steroid test. Montero, who tested positive for dimethylbutylamine, has now failed two drug tests in his MLB career including his inclusion in the Biogenesis scandal back in 2013 when he was with Seattle. That was before Montero got suspended again by the Mariners in 2014 after a heckler asked an overweight Montero if he wanted an ice cream sandwich while he was down in the Minor Leagues rehabbing. I found it funny, Montero apparently did not.

Anyone still think the trade and who “won” is still up in the air? I don’t. Anyone still think Brian Cashman should be fired for that trade? Me either.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 10/1

Game 161. We won’t waste too much time here unfortunately because it’s a meaningless game for the Yankees. New York is two games away from going home for the winter while the Orioles are still jockeying for position in the postseason and the Wild Card game. Let’s play spoilers and piss off Buck Showalter again, because that never gets old. This afternoon the New York Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound to make his final start of the season while the Orioles set up their rotation for a potential ALDS by sending Wade Miley to the mound to oppose him. The game will be played at 4:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

18 more innings, give or take, to decide it all. Leave it all out on the field fellas. Go Yankees!

2017 Closes the Door on Another Era

The 2016 season has been a huge season for not only the New York Yankees team but for the entire Yankees organization in many ways. Out with the old and in with the new seemed to be the theme as players like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira either retired or announced their intentions to retire while other players like Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova and Aroldis Chapman said their goodbye’s after being traded to other teams. The door is being shut on the era that began back in 2009 when Brian Cashman unloaded on the free agent market adding any and all top talent that he wanted and that door and era will be completely shut after the 2017 season.

Leftovers from that era are CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Masahiro Tanaka among others and all four could be free agents after the season. Sabathia, Pineda and Eovaldi’s contracts run out while Tanaka can opt out after the 2017 season while looking for a new deal and assuming his health I find that opt-out a true possibility heading into next season. In their spots may be a combination of Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell, Chad Green, James Kaprielian and others.

Yes, Brett Gardner has a deal that runs through the 2018 season while Jacoby Ellsbury is owed somewhere near $90 million but while Gardner is moveable Ellsbury is probably not. We won’t see a 100% turnover after the 2017 season but the era will be closed nonetheless, especially if Gardner is moved this offseason or next July. Brian McCann may also be moved this offseason back to the Atlanta Braves so they can sell tickets in their new stadium. Either way the only constant is change and a new door is opening for New York beginning in 2017.

That door is labeled “youth” and it’s a beautiful thing. So as we say goodbye to the latest era of bad contracts and veteran presences in the clubhouse we say hello to manageable contracts, youth and possibly a new core. Or maybe a new dynasty. I’m not going to be the one to tell them it won’t happen. Embrace the change, it’s coming either way. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 10/1

Meaningless October baseball in the Bronx. Six words I am not entirely crazy about saying unfortunately. Call me spoiled but the playoffs just aren’t the playoffs unless the Yankees are in it. You can call me a homer too, I don’t mind. So today in the penultimate game of the New York Yankees season the team sends Luis Severino to the mound to make his final start of the season while the Orioles counter with Wade Miley. The Orioles are still fighting for either a home Wild Card Game or a road Wild Card game against the Toronto Blue Jays so let’s play spoiler a bit today in the Bronx.

Severino makes his first start since being ejected in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning after having hit Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak. As a starter Severino is 0-8 with a 8.59 ERA in 10 starts. It's not what you want.

Miley just brought a child into the world and will be making the first start since his child was born and his first start since the best start he has had as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Miley struck out 11 Arizona Diamondbacks while falling one out shy of a complete game.

The game will be played at 4:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. It feels good to get a win, it feels better to get a win against Buck Showalter and the Orioles but to get a win and force the Orioles onto the road in the one-game series to kick off the playoffs? Well I don’t believe they’ve made a word for that feeling yet. Go Yankees!

Who Is Going to Say No to CC Beyond 2017?

The New York Yankees were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday night despite completing a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in a three-game set. Too little too late for the Bombers this season but it may not be too little too late for the man who was on the mound in that start, CC Sabathia. Once thought to be “done” and “washed up” after losing velocity on his fastball and after dealing with a degenerative knee condition the Yankees veteran left-handed has learned how to finally “pitch” rather than just throw the ball by everyone in the league and the results have been spectacular. After a relatively healthy season in 2016 and a solid season by all accounts Sabathia has his eye not only on 2017 but beyond that as well once his current contract expires with New York. Right now, who is going to tell him no that he can’t come back to the Bronx in 2017? Not me.

Sabathia was a machine from 2009 to 2012 with the Yankees posting a 74-29 record but his health and velocity dropped off suddenly leaving CC unsure of what to do. CC was used to rearing back and finding 95+ MPH to get him out of any situation, not Sabathia was left with an 88 – 92 MPH fastball that he had to pinpoint every single time to be successful. After working with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and a former Yankees ace that went through a similar transformation in Andy Pettitte the big man seems to have finally figured it out in 2016. We saw Sabathia make steps towards putting it all together in recent years but when he got into trouble he could still be seen trying to simply blow hitters away, now CC isn’t afraid to walk a guy or pitch around a guy to maximize efficiency and outs making him a perfect and durable candidate to anchor a young and upcoming Yankees rotation from the 5th starter spot.

CC will never be the 2009 version again by any stretch of the imagination but CC has somehow found a way to be dominant nonetheless while also leading the team in starts made and innings pitched. Overall Sabathia finished the year with 29 starts, a 4.02 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP but I can remember at the beginning of the season when CC held a sub-3.00 ERA and a 3.17 ERA into the month of July before getting hit around a bit. I can’t think of a team that wouldn’t take a veteran arm who’s been there on a reasonable contract at the back end of their bullpen, especially if he brings the health and stability he brought to the Yankees this season. Why not make that team the Yankees?

I know a lot can happen between now and this time in 2017 but if you’re asking me right now, this instant, I’m signing him up if he’s healthy. You can have all the young guns and rising stars in the rotation you want but they are going to need the old, savvy veteran to show them how it’s done. That’s CC.

Scoreboard Watching for October 1st

And then there were two…. And zero Yankees.

AL Wild Card Race: 

Baltimore Orioles @ New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays @ Boston Red Sox
Detroit Tigers @ Atlanta Braves
Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

National League Wild Card: 

New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis Cardinals

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/1: Wild Card Weekend

Watch the entire Game 2 of the ALDS above for free!

On this day in 2014 it was announced that Derek Jeter, the recently retired Yankees legend and captain, would be opening a blogging format for athletes to speak directly to their fans. The Players Tribune was born, now on to baseball related news on this day in Yankees history.

Major League Baseball added an additional playoff team to each league before the 1995 season and named the winner the Wild Card winner. On this day in 1995 the New York Yankees became the first Wild Card team in the history of the American League while the Colorado Rockies became the first Wild Card winner for the National League.

Also on this day in 1961 on the final game of the season Roger Maris hits his 61st home run of the season passing Babe Ruth for the single season record. The Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard gave up the historic home run. Also on this day exactly two years later a baby was born named Mark McGwire. Ironic.

Also on this day in 1949 the Yankees held Joe DiMaggio Day at Yankee Stadium. DiMaggio took home two brand new cars, a boat, three hundred quarts of ice cream, and a cocker spaniel. On this day DiMaggio was quoted as saying “I like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.”

Finally on this day in 1932 a mere 17 years before the Yankees honored the retiring Joe DiMaggio the Yankees welcome DiMaggio to the club as he made his professional debut with the San Francisco Seals. DiMaggio was 18 years old and was the team’s shortstop that season where he hit .340 with 169 RBI and 28 home runs.