Monday, July 31, 2017

Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Announced

Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Announced
CofC’s Ryan Johnson, Citadel’s Phil Hartig, CSU’s R.J. Swindle, and umpire John Couch all among 15th class in Hall’s history

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame has announced the inductees for the Class of 2017, naming umpire John Couch, former Citadel slugger Phil Hartig, CofC hurler Ryan Johnson, and Bucs pitcher R.J. Swindle, to the 15th annual Hall of Fame class.
The four new inductees will be honored prior to the RiverDogs’ Friday, August 4 home game against Greenville at 7:05pm, and will have their names inscribed on the Hall of Fame list located on the main concourse of Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
The Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame is coordinated and operated by the Charleston RiverDogs.  An advisory committee consisting of knowledgeable local volunteers was created to come up with the names as potential nominees.  The Hall of Fame is located inside Riley Park.

John Couch – A St. Andrew’s High product, Couch played minor league baseball for the Charleston White Sox for six seasons (1958-63) and attended Baseball Umpire Development school and in St. Petersburg, Fla. Over his illustrious career in the black and blue, he umpired classes A (Western Carolina League) and AA professional baseball in addition to American Legion and college baseball, and was an umpire during the 1975 NCAA College World Series. Couch served as an instructor for numerous young umpires and was instrumental in developing umpiring at all levels of the game.

Philip A. “Phil” Hartig (Citadel Class of 2000) - The most prolific hitter in Citadel baseball history, Hartig established 14 offensive records and earned first team All-Southern Conference honors all four years during his time with the Bulldogs. He was the league’s Player of the Year in 2001, and was also the 1998 SoCon Freshman of the Year and twice earned All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball (second team in 2000; third team in 2001). Hartig finished his career ranked fourth in the NCAA career total bases and seventh in career hits. Among his many school records, he holds the career marks in games played (239), runs (230), hits in a season (99) and career (360), doubles (76), RBI in a season (86) and career (290), slugging percentage (.673) and fielding percentage (.989). He owns a career batting average of .367, and holds the mark with 17 home runs in a season and for his career; he belted 64 home runs (second best is Anthony Jenkins’ 32). Hartig played on Fred Jordan-coached teams that went a combined 155-88 and started on teams that advanced to three NCAA regionals, won three Southern Conference Tournament titles and two SoCon regular season titles. Hartig was drafted in the 24th round by the Florida Marlins and was enshrined in The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

Ryan Johnson – A standout pitcher for the College of Charleston who pitched in 2002 and 2004 (was out with injury in ’03) for the Cougars. Finished with a career record of 23-3 with a 3.26 ERA as he led the Cougars to their first NCAA Regional appearance in 2004. His overall winning percentage of .885 ranks second all-time and his perfect 12-0 season in 2004 earned him Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year honors. He was a first Team All-Conference pick in 2002 and 2004 and was a CBI All-American Honorable Mention in 2004. He finished 10th in the NCAA in wins in 2004 (12). He is a native of Fort Pierce, Fla., and attended Indian River Community College before transferring to The College. He currently works for the Mt. Pleasant Recreation Department.

R.J. Swindle – R.J. Swindle etched his name in the Charleston Southern record book thanks to a brilliant 2003 season. He set the still-standing single-season records for wins (10) and strikeouts (140) en route to finishing the year 10-5 with an impeccable 2.21 ERA. His 18 starts that season are also tied for the most made by any CSU pitcher. He capped his illustrious collegiate career as the Bucs’ all-time leader in wins (24), while placing second in innings pitched (349.2) and games started (51). The crowning moment of Swindle’s career came on the international level. The Vancouver, Canada native suited up for the Canadian National Team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Germany, and the 2013 World Baseball Classic here in the United States. Swindle has also enjoyed two stints in the Major Leagues, a three-game run with the eventual World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 and a six-game stretch with the Milwaukee Brewers the following year. After starting his pro career in the Boston Red Sox organization, Swindle signed with the New York Yankees, and found himself 20 minutes from the CSU campus pitching for the Charleston RiverDogs. Swindle posted one of the better seasons of his career with the RiverDogs, going 4-2 with two saves and a 0.61 ERA over 44.1 innings. Swindle wrapped up a nine-year professional career in 2012, pitching with the Memphis Redbirds, the St. Louis Cardinals’ AAA affiliate.



2017 – John Couch
            Phil Hartig
            Ryan Johnson
            R.J. Swindle
2016 – Ted Byrne
            Chris Campbell
            Nick Chigges
            Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
            Mike Veeck
2015 – Pete Ayoub
            John Chalus    
            Lee Curtis
2014 – Reese Havens
            David Hoffman
            Billy Swails, Jr.
2013 – Steven Jackson
            Drew Meyer
            Britt Reames
2012 – Gettys Glaze
            Tom Hatley
            John Rhodes
2011 – Bill Ackerman
            Roberto Alomar
            Mike Kimbrell
2010 – Lee Glaze
Fred Jordan
D.K. Walters
Kenny Wilkinson
2009 – John Dodds, Jr.
            W.S. “Bull” Durham
            Donald Morillo
            Doug Pounder
2008 – Bryce Florie
            Danny Jones
            Charley Smith
            Richard Wieters
2007 – 1955 Cannon Street YMCA All-Star Team
            1990 Citadel World Series Team
            Anthony Jenkins
Modie Risher
2006 – Ty Cline
            Mike Cook
            Gary McJunkin
            Chal Port
2005 – John Candelaria
2004 – David Cone
2003 – Willie Randolph
Gorman Thomas

BREAKING NEWS: Yankees Acquire Sonny Gray for Three Prospects

The New York Yankees wanted Sonny Gray and the Yankees got their man acquiring the right-hander for three prospects. The three prospects heading back to the Oakland Athletics are RHP James Kaprielian (currently out for the remainder of the season with Tommy John surgery), CF/SS Jorge Mateo and CF Dustin Fowler (out for the season with a torn ligament in his knee). More to come later.

Toe-Powered Offense Falls Short...

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
Rays 5, Yankees 3…

Ronald Torreyes tried but nobody else in the offensive lineup was cooperative as the Yankees lost the fourth and final game of the series with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Yankee hitters were 1-for-11 in scoring opportunities so this one goes down as a game of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’.

On a day when it was announced the Yankees had acquired left-handed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia, one of the other lefties in the rotation…Jordan Montgomery…failed to get out of the third inning.  Like Saturday, the Rays took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  Montgomery struck out Peter Bourjos, walked Steven Souza, Jr, and struck out Evan Longoria.  Lucas Duda singled to left as Souza, Jr took second.  Trevor Plouffe followed with a single up the middle, scoring Souza, Jr with the game’s first run.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
The Yankees grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second.  Chase Headley walked with one out  and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Rays starter Jacob Faria.  After Todd Frazier struck out, Ronald Torreyes hit a homer over the left field wall…2-1, Yankees.

Peter Bourjos led off the third inning with a double to the left field wall.  After Steven Souza, Jr struck out, Evan Longoria reached on an infield chopper as the speedy Bourjos took third.  Lucas Duda walked to load the bases with only one out.  For a moment, it looked like Monty might be able to work out of the jam.  He struck out Trevor Plouffe and had Corey Dickerson a strike away from ending the inning.  But Dickerson hit a 1-2 pitch into center field, scoring Bourjos and Longoria with the tying and go-ahead runs.  Wilson Ramos followed with a single to center, scoring Duda, and it was 4-2 Rays.  Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough, and pulled Montgomery, who had thrown 71 pitches despite an inability to get out of the 3rd inning, in favor of Luis Cessa.  Cessa threw a wild pitch which allowed Dickerson to take third as Ramos moved to second, but he was able to strike out Tim Beckham to get out of the inning.  

The Yankees made it a one-run game in the bottom of the 4th.  With two outs, Todd Frazier walked on four straight balls and scored when Ronald Torreyes doubled to the left field corner.  Frazier slid in under the throw from the outfield to score while Torreyes moved to third but Toe was left stranded when Austin Romine grounded out.

The Rays added an insurance run in the top of the 8th against Yankees reliever Chad Green.  Mallex Smith, pinch-hitting for Tim Beckham, led off the 8th with an infield single.  Smith stole second, easily sliding in under the tag.  With two outs, Steven Souza, Jr doubled off the left center wall to bring Smith home for the Rays’ fifth and final run.

The Yankees had numerous scoring opportunities in this game, but none bigger than the bottom of the 9th.  After Gary Sanchez struck out against Rays closer Alex Colome, Brett Gardner singled to left.  A wild pitch moved Gardy to second and Clint Frazier reached first when Colome threw four straight pitches outside of the strike zone.  With the tying run at first and one out, the Yankees had the heart of the lineup representing the winning run at the plate.  Aaron Judge had the first opportunity but got under a pitch and popped out to Trevor Plouffe in foul territory.  It came down to Matt Holliday for the Yankees’ last chance.  He weakly grounded out to Evan Longoria who easily threw Holliday out at first.  

The Yankees could have won this game, leaving a total of 22 men on base, but it was not meant to be.  The bullpen did a very good job after Montgomery’s early exit.  The combination of Luis Cessa, Chasen Shreve and Chad Green pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing only 3 hits and the 8th inning run given up by Green.  They walked 6 batters but struck out 11.  Shreve and Green worked out of a bases loaded threat in the top of the 7th inning. The trio gave the Yankees the chance to win so that’s all you can ask.  

Fortunately, the Boston Red Sox also lost on Sunday, by the same 5-3 score to the Kansas City Royals, so the Yankees (56-47) maintained their half game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East.  The Rays picked up a game so they are 3 1/2 back after losing three of four to the Yankees over the weekend.

Austin Romine left the game after getting hit by a pitch in the 6th inning.  It was a tough game for him.  He was struck in the throat by a bounced foul ball earlier in the game, and was hit in the head by Steven Souza, Jr’s bat on a follow-through of his swing.  Although he stayed in the game to run after getting hit, he was replaced at catcher by Gary Sanchez the next inning.  The cameras showed a bruised welt on Romine’s hand but x-rays proved negative.  Manager Joe Girardi does not expect any DL time for Romine, and of course Romine’s attitude was the usual ‘just cram the hand in the glove and go’.  

Credit:  Getty Images
Clint Frazier had quite a second inning.  Right before Romine got the ball to the throat, Frazier caught a fly ball in front of Brett Gardner who had tried to call Frazier off.  The next batter, Adeiny Hechavarria, hit a ball to the left field wall and Frazier timed his leap and catch perfectly to take away an extra base hit.  Bad play-good play, but fortunately both were for outs.  

Next Up:  Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…

The Yankees entertain the Detroit Tigers for a three-game series at the Stadium beginning today.  By game time, the Trading Deadline will have come and gone.  It’s time to focus on winning the AL East.  Newcomer Jaime Garcia, having pitched last Friday in Oakland for the Twins, will be unavailable to pitch until Thursday, thereby missing the Detroit series.  

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

Tigers:  Michael Fulmer (10-8, 3.35 ERA)
Yankees:  Luis Severino (7-4, 3.03 ERA)

Tigers:  Anibal Sanchez (2-1, 6.18 ERA)
Yankees:  CC Sabathia (9-3, 3.66 ERA)

Tigers:  Jordan Zimmermann (6-8, 5.69 ERA)
Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (8-9, 5.09 ERA)

Odds & Ends…

Prior to Sunday’s game, the Yankees optioned lefty starter Caleb Smith to Triple A and recalled lefty reliever Chasen Shreve.  After the game, they optioned RHP Luis Cessa to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (presumably to make room for LHP Jaime Garcia).

I had thought Tigers reliever Justin Wilson would be the next ex-Yankee traded this month in  what has been a flurry of transactions involving former Pinstripers.  I was wrong.  Yesterday, the Chicago White Sox made their latest veteran dump when they sent OF Melky Cabrera to the Kansas City Royals.  This is Melky’s second tour with the Royals where he spent the 2011 season.  But Wilson wasn't far behind as word spread that he was on his way to Wrigley Field by the end of the day.  

Congratulations to third baseman Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers for becoming a member of the 3,000 Hit Club.  Beltre reached the milestone on Sunday with a double off Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wade Miley.  Beltre is currently in his 20th MLB season and is the first player born in the Dominican Republic to reach 3,000 hits.  

Credit:  Tom Fox-The Dallas Morning News

As of this writing, I don't know what to think about the Sonny Gray rumors.  On Saturday, it sounded like the Yankees were making significant progress with the Oakland A's but then yesterday, nothing (implying a potential impasse).  With the clock clicking down, it's anybody's guess what will happen.  While I remain optimistic the Yankees will get Gray, there is a good possibility that Jaime Garcia is the Yankees' last acquisition before the deadline.  Although the Yankees are rumored to be looking at Yu Darvish as a backup plan, I think that is far less likely to happen.  I'm hoping we'll be looking at Sonny skies before game time today but prepared to move on with the arms and bats currently on the roster.  

Have a great Monday!  It’s should be a wild ride up to 4 pm Eastern today but afterwards, let’s start a new winning streak.  Go Yankees!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Need Help? Call 54-11...

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Yankees 5, Rays 4…

Aroldis Chapman to stop the top of the 9th and Brett Gardner to walk it off in the bottom of inning.  This formula seems to be working.  Chapman has long been a high end finisher, but Gardy is the one who seems to come through in the clutch when you need him the most.  He is the first Yankees player to two walk-off’s in the same series.  The Yankees used this formula to pull out another victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, their third consecutive win over the Rays and sixth overall.  

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
Caleb Smith, perhaps making his final start for the Yankees this year, was in a hole immediately when Peter Bourjos homered to left center with the game’s second pitch.  He recovered to get out of the inning without any further damage.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Gary Sanchez led off with a ground-rule double to right.  Matt Holliday hit a grounder to the left side but Sanchez wisely read that third baseman Trevor Plouffe was committed to throwing to first so he was easily able to take third on the play.  Didi Gregorius hit a sacrifice fly to center and Sanchez tagged and scored standing up.  Game was tied.

The Rays had a huge opportunity to break the game open in the third inning.  Jesus Sucre led off with a single to left against Smith.  Peter Bourjos hit a grounder to Didi Gregorius which erased Sucre at second.  Steven Souza, Jr hit a hard liner which Gregorius almost snared (man, that would have been a brilliant play) but the ball bounced out of his glove toward third.  Runners at first and second.  Evan Longoria walked to load the bases, still with only one out.  Lucas Duda hit a sacrifice fly to center as Bourjos scored, giving the Rays the 2-1 lead. With runners at the corners and two outs, I thought Todd Frazier had one of the plays of the game when he made a barehanded grab on Trevor Plouffe’s grounder and his throw to Garrett Cooper just beat Plouffe to first.  If the Rays had been able to score multiple runs, the game would have had a much different look.

Caleb Smith pitched into the 4th inning.  After striking out Corey Dickerson, he walked Tim Beckham.  Even the YES Network announcers were commenting about Smith leaving his pitches up in the strike zone.  All things considered, he was very lucky the Rays weren’t more successful against him.  Smith’s departure after 71 pitches underscored the Yankees need for a quality starter.  Adam Warren replaced Smith and struck out Adeiny Hechavarria.  Beckham attempted to steal on the swinging strikeout, but the throw from Gary Sanchez to Ronald Torreyes was on target to nail the runner for the final out.

The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the 4th when Gary Sanchez homered to left center.  But this seemed like one of those games where the Rays continually had the answer for the Yankees runs.  In the top of the 5th, Steven Souza, Jr homered to left as the Rays re-took the lead, 3-2.  

Dellin Betances pitched the the top of the 6th inning.  It wasn’t clean as he walked the first batter, Lucas Duda, on four straight balls.  But he retired the next three batters to get out of the inning, leaving Duda stranded at second.  In the bottom of the frame, Matt Holliday opened with a single to left.  A fly out by Didi Gregorius ended the day for Rays starter Blake Snell and he was replaced by former San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo.  The Yankees sent Chase Headley to the plate to pinch hit for Garrett Cooper.  Good call by Manager Joe Girardi as Headley homered to left to give the Yankees their first lead of the game, 4-3.  

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The 7th inning brought Tommy Kahnle to the mound to replace Betances.  A couple of hits had runners at the corners with one out but he was able to strike out Steven Souza, Jr and get Yankee killer Evan Longoria to pop out in foul territory to strand the runners. Steve Cishek, acquired during this series by the Rays from the Seattle Mariners, entered the game in the bottom of the 7th in relief of Romo.  Last Saturday in Seattle, Aaron Judge had homered off Cishek but it was not to be this time around as Cishek struck out the side including Judge who went down swinging.

David Robertson took over for Kahnle in the 8th but he was immediately victimized by Lucas Duda who absolutely crushed the D-Rob pitch into the right field upper deck.  Duda has been the Ben Gamel of this series.  Watching how tailor-made Duda’s swing is for Yankee Stadium makes one wish that GM Brian Cashman had been more aggressive in his talks with the Mets before the first baseman was acquired by the Rays.  Robertson gave up another single was was able to get out of the inning with the game tied at 4.

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
9th inning and it was time for Aroldis Chapman.  It wasn’t a perfect inning as Wilson Ramos was awarded first base on catcher’s interference (if the bat touched El Gary’s glove, it must have only been one of the strings as it wasn’t readily apparent watching replay).  A ground out by Steven Souza, Jr eliminated Ramos at second but Souza, Jr subsequently made it to third when he stole second and advanced another base on an error.  With the go-ahead run 90 feet away, Chapman retired Evan Longoria for the final out on a pop up in foul territory.

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
For the bottom of the 9th, the Rays replaced reliever Tommy Hunter with Brad Boxberger.  He walked his first batter, Chase Headley, and the Yankees replaced Headley with the $153 million pinch-runner, Jacoby Ellsbury, sporting stylish shades.  Ellsbury successfully stole second with Todd Frazier at bat but it didn’t really matter as Boxberger plunked Frazier with a pitch to give him first base.  Ronald Torreyes then laid down a beautiful bunt to third which left all three runners safe and the bases loaded.  The Rays then pulled Boxberger and replaced him with former White Sox reliever Dan Jennings.  Maybe Rays manager Kevin Cash didn’t catch the fact that this was not the best of games for former White Sox relievers (see Kahnle and Robertson).  Brett Gardner came the plate and nicely laid down a single to center to score Ellsbury with the winning run.  The Yankees win!

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
The Yankees (56-46) remained the AL East division leaders with the win, but the Boston Red Sox stayed just a half game off the pace with their comeback win over the Kansas City Royals.  The Sox won in 10 innings with a walk-off grounder by former Yankee Eduardo Nunez which scored Sandy Leon with the winning run.  It was a big game for Nunez.  He was 3-for-6 with 2 homers and 3 RBI’s.  With the loss, the Rays fell 4 1/2 games behind the leaders.

Matt Holliday was 2-for-4 in the game with a run scored so hopefully it is a sign that his bat is starting to unthaw.  Todd Frazier is still cold as he was hitless in 3 at-bats.  

Odds & Ends…

Gray skies are forming over Yankee Stadium.  I am not referring to the weather but as we near the final 24 hours before the trading deadline, the Sonny Gray rumors will not go away.  Twitter was abuzz with words yesterday that Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s had moved off their demand for either Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier in the deal.  I think most of us are expecting outfielder Estevan Florial and 2B/SS/OF Jorge Mateo to be included so it is a matter of what other pitching prospects will comprise the package and whether or not Yonder Alonzo will be coming the other way.  It seems like there is strong room for agreement at this point.  

This morning’s news brings word that the Yankees are nearing a deal for lefty starter Jaime Garcia of the Minnesota Twins.  Pitching prospect Zach Littell (currently in Double A) is a healthy scratch today for the Trenton Thunder which has led to speculation that he’ll be the prospect heading to the Twin Cities.  Littell was acquired by the Yankees last fall in the trade that sent reliever James Pazos to the Seattle Mariners and has been terrific in the Yankees system this year.  But he is a casualty of the roster-crunch as the Yankees must protect him on the 40-man roster this year or risk exposing him to the Rule 5 Draft.  Garcia does not appear to be a fall back plan for Gray considering he is nowhere near the same level of pitcher. He represents rotation insurance, with Jordan Montgomery nearing a career high in innings pitched (and is potentially working with an innings limit) and would be hedge for good health with CC Sabathia and potentially Gray.

Jaime Garcia
Garcia came up with the St Louis Cardinals where he was a starter for the majority of the Matt Holliday years.  He was traded last December to the Atlanta Braves.  Garcia, who turned 31 earlier this month, was traded to the Twins a week ago for the pennant push.  But a string of losses subsequently caused the Twins to re-think their strategy.  Entering play today, the Twins find themselves 7 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.  Garcia has only pitched one game for the Twins.  He was the winner in Oakland on Friday night (6.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 7 SO).  

If the Yankees successfully acquire Gray, Alonzo, and/or Garcia, the MLB roster losers appear to be Caleb Smith, Luis Cessa, and Garrett Cooper.  GM Brian Cashman will have to get very creative with his 40-man roster moves.

Word is now breaking that the Yankees have, in fact, acquired Garcia for Littell and Triple A pitcher Dietrich Enns.  The Twins will also pay some of the money remaining on Garcia’s contract.  My initial reaction is that the cost seems very high to acquire a journeyman starter but Enns held a highly valued spot on the 40-man roster.  

Sounds like we are in for a turbulent ride until the trading deadline.

Have a great Sunday!  Let’s make the Rays series a sweeping success!  Go Yankees!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Ace & The Outfield Trio...

Yankees 6, Rays 1…

Masahiro Tanaka was dealing on Friday night as the Yankees took down the Tampa Rays for the second night in a row.  He was backed by homers from all three starting outfielders and amassed 14 strikeouts over 8 innings before David Robertson capped off his brilliant game.  The win vaulted the Yankees back into first place in the AL East.  

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
The first inning showed that Tanaka was potentially on top of his game when he struck out the side.  Brett Gardner, Thursday night’s hero with the walk-off home run, started the scoring for the Yankees with a home run.  He became only the third Yankee with walk-off/walk-on home runs, joining Joe Gordon (1940) and Roberto Kelly (1990).  Gardy’s homer, his 19th of the year (a career high), landed in the bullpen in right field under the Toyota sign.  Rays right-fielder Stephen Souza, Jr climbed the wall with thoughts of making a spectacular catch but the ball was just beyond his reach.  It was an interesting stat coming into the game that the Yankees are 15-0 when Gardy goes yard.  We can make that 16-0.   

After Rays starter Austin Pruitt gave up the lead-off HR to Gardy, he proceeded to strike out the side so it looked like we would be settling into a pitcher’s duel.  Tanaka picked up two more strikeouts in each of the second and third innings, before striking out only one in the 4th.  In the bottom of the 4th, the Yankees picked up their second run when Aaron Judge hammered a Pruitt pitch to left for his 33rd home run of the season.  

After Tanaka set the Rays down in order in the top of the 5th, picking up another K, the Yankees added to their lead.  Pruitt alternated strikeouts and walks with Chase Headley (out), Todd Frazier (walk), Ronald Torreyes (out), and Brett Gardner (walk).  After a coaching visit to the mound by Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, Clint Frazier completed the outfield trifecta with a monster blast to left center, traveling 455 feet into the left field stands.  Red Thunder continues to amaze with his blazing bat speed.  I know that I am one of many who feel the Yankees would be very foolish to send Frazier back down to Triple A when Aaron Hicks returns.  The team’s resurgence this month has been driven, in large part, by Red Thunder’s energy and heart.  

Leading 5-0, Tanaka took a perfect game into the 6th inning but it was spoiled with two outs when Adeiny Hechavarria hit a grounder past a diving Didi Gregorius for the Rays first hit.  In the 7th inning, the Rays marred the shutout when they got their only other hit, a homer to right by former New York Met Lucas Duda.  5-1, Yankees.

Tanaka completed the eighth inning exactly as he started the first by striking out the side.  It was the end of the night for Tanaka but what a game!  If he continues to pitch like this down the stretch, it will mean great things for the Yankees.  

Credit:  Mike Stobe-Getty Images
The Yankees picked up their final run in the 8th inning.  After Rays reliever (and former Yankee) Chase Whitley shut down the Yankees for two innings, setting down all six batters he faced in the 6th and 7th innings, the Rays brought in Adam Kolarek to start the 8th.  He hit Brett Gardner with a pitch to put Gardy at first.  He struck out Clint Frazier and induced Aaron Judge to hit into a ground out which moved Gardy to second.  Kolarek intentionally walked Gary Sanchez, but a passed ball (looked like a wild pitch) advanced both runners to second and third.  Didi Gregorius singled to left, scoring Gardner but Gary Sanchez was nailed at the plate as he attempted to score too.

David Robertson finished up the 9th with his usual “no drama”.  Just another day at the office for D-Rob, and the Yankees emerged with their 55th victory of the season.  Boo yeah!  Yankees win!

Credit:  Mike Stobe-Getty Images
As mentioned at the top of this post, the Yankees (55-46) moved into first place in the division standings.  The Boston Red Sox, who had received disappointing news earlier in the day with the placement of David Price on the DL, fell to the Kansas City Royals, 4-2.  It was the Royals’ ninth consecutive victory.  The Red Sox now trail the Yanks by a half game, while the Rays are 3 1/2 back.

Aaron Judge visited the dentist earlier in the day to temporarily repair his chipped tooth.  He’ll have to make a trip back for permanent work but it was very good to see Judge back out on the field.  I liked the YES Network’s reference to “Babe Tooth”…

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-The NY Post
A last note about Masahiro Tanaka.  His masterpiece against the Rays follows largely horrific performances on the road against them.  In two games at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, FL, Tanaka was 0-2 with 20.67 ERA.  Tanaka improved his record to 8-9 and ERA to 5.09 with the victory.  Simply an excellent game by the right-hander.

Odds & Ends…

Robert Refsnyder is expected to return to the Major Leagues today for the Toronto Blue Jays.  The utility man would take the place of Troy Tulowitzki who sprained his right ankle and will undergo further tests.  The thought is that Ref could play some second base while Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney cover short during Tulo’s absence.  All the best to Ref as he tries to make his mark north of the border.

Credit:  James P McCoy-Buffalo News
The division foes are being very active on the trade market this week.  The Rays have been the loudest with their acquisitions of Lucas Duda, Dan Jennings, Sergio Romo and Steve Cishek.  The Baltimore Orioles, only 7 1/2 games back, acquired Philadelphia Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson overnight.  With David Price going on the DL, it will be interesting to see if the Boston Red Sox make any further moves after their acquisition of former Yankees third baseman/infielder Eduardo Nunez.  The Red Sox “say” they are not going to chase down another starter but that remains to be seen.

It was incredible game for outfielder Billy McKinney yesterday as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders crushed the Charlotte Knights, 15-8.  McKinney was 4-for-5 with a double, two triples and a grand slam and a career high 6 RBI’s.  His outfield throw also nailed a runner at home plate in the third inning.  Miguel Andujar, making a statement that he wants to be the Yankees third baseman in 2018, was 2-for-6 with a homer and has raised his batting average to .324 as he continues to feast on Triple A pitching.

Have a great Saturday!  Here’s hoping the Yankees can continue their success against the Rays.  Go Yankees!  

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/29: Billy Martin Back for Old Timers Day

The New York Yankees won a World Series championship in 1977 under then manager Billy Martin and before Martin could try and defend his title he resigned and was replace by Bob Lemon as manager. The Yankees would repeat as World Series champions in 1978 under Lemon but before that Martin made one more trip to Yankee Stadium. The trip was made on this day in 1978 when Martin returned to the Yankees on Old Timer's Day.

Martin couldn't stay away from New York and George Steinbrenner as he would be the Yankees manager once again in 1980.

Finally on this day in 1969 Joe DiMaggio was named the greatest living player in Major League Baseball by a group of sportswriters. A poll was taken to coincide with the centennial of professional baseball and DiMaggio was given the honor. DiMaggio proudly embraced the title until his death in 1999. Not bad for a guy that took four times to get into the Hall of Fame.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 7/28

Friday night baseball here in the Bronx, let’s get to it. The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays will continue their four-game set tonight with the second game of the series inside Yankee Stadium. Last night the Rays watched as their ace Chris Archer flamed fastballs past the Yankees hitters while tonight the Yankees hope for some revenge with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. Tonight the Rays will send Austin Pruitt to the mound to oppose Aaron Judge, Todd Frazier, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez and company. Good luck with that. 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. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into WFAN.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game tonight. Go Yankees!!

Does the Team Really Need Justin Wilson? Or Are They Just Being Greedy?

Back before the 2009 season The Greedy Pinstripes was formed, unofficially of course as the blog came many years later, during the offseason. If you remember the New York Yankees signing CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and AJ Burnett to hefty free agent contracts and you remember the acquisition of Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox for essentially peanuts in the grand scheme of things then you remember the World Series the team won that season as well. The team “got greedy” and even though I as a fan wanted more, the “Get Greedy” campaign begun when I clamored for a month for the team to sign Manny Ramirez to a free agent contract, the team reached its ultimate goal. Is the team about to get greedy again and buy up all the available bullpen arms at this year’s July 31st trading deadline? The team already acquired David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, is Justin Wilson next? Also, does the team really need Justin Wilson?

Let’s answer the easy question first, no the team doesn’t necessarily need Wilson. Wilson would be joining a Yankees bullpen that already has Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Kahnle, Robertson, Adam Warren and Chad Green. Adding Wilson turns every game into essentially a four-or-five inning game, which is good, but also creates a huge logjam not only this season but for seasons to come, which isn’t necessarily good if you’re concerned with austerity.

Wilson does check a lot of boxes for the Yankees. He is just 29-years old so he is on the right side of 30 while he has also put up great numbers in 2017 as the setup man and closer for the Tigers. Wilson strikes out a ton of batters and maintains a WHIP under 1.00 consistently as a member of Detroit while also nailing down his first 12-of-14 save opportunities after taking over the job from Francisco Rodriguez in May. He’s a great pitcher, no one can deny that, but is he a need? I’m leaning towards no.

I am as greedy as they come when it comes to baseball and acquiring players so don’t take this as me not wanting New York to acquire him. It always has and always will come down to the price. If it costs a top ten prospect out of the Yankees system then I have to say no but if it costs a couple Low-A prospects that no one will ever blink an eye at then of course I want the Yankees to “Get Greedy, Get Justin Wilson.” Who wouldn’t?

Wilson is arbitration eligible for the 2018 season before reaching free agency before 2019.