Saturday, September 30, 2017

Article Revisit: Who is Going to Say “No” to CC Beyond 2017?

We discussed this earlier in the season but we also discussed it almost one year ago today as well, should the New York Yankees bring back CC Sabathia for the 2018 season? You know what my opinion is now, a couple weeks back I opined that the Yankees should bring back the veteran left-hander on a one-year deal with a reasonable base salary, but what did I think back in 2016? Find out in this article revisit from the 2016 season. Enjoy and leave your comments below on CC and whether the Yankees should retain him for next season below in the comments section. Thanks!

 Saturday, October 1, 2016

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.

Article Revisit: 2017 Closes the Door on Another Era

Back almost one year ago to the day I wrote the following article labeled “2017 Closes the Door on Another Era” and the basic premise of the article was “out with the old and in with the new.” In the article I described how Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira would be riding off into the retirement sunset while other veterans such as Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova and (temporarily at least) Aroldis Chapman had said their goodbye’s after being traded away. I opinioned that in their place would come members of the Yankees as a youth movement would finally hit the Bronx and I finished the article with the words” Embrace the change, it’s coming either way.” Who would have thought the change that was coming was going to be this sudden, this extreme and this damn fun? Well besides me of course. Enjoy the article as we look back on it from one year ago.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

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 the Ellsbury contract 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 Thread: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 9/30

You know what really makes me feel like a kid again? Well a lot of things unfortunately, haha, but I can always remember every Saturday afternoon staying inside (against my friend’s suggestions and teasing mind you) to watch Saturday afternoon on baseball on FOX so whenever it happens, which is happening less and less lately for whatever reason, I always get a bit nostalgic. Whenever the game features the New York Yankees like it does this afternoon, well I just get downright giddy. So here we are, two days before the end of the regular season and the Yankees are playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon on FOX inside Yankee Stadium. What a treat. The Yankees will send Jaime Garcia to the mound, one last time…. Jaime Garcia sucks, to square off with Marcus Stroman for the Jays. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET. Enjoy the game!

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and follow along with us during the game. Go Yankees! Need a win, get a damn win.

Prediction: Yankees win 11-4

Slamming the Door, The Tale of Tanaka to Chapman...

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
Yankees 4, Blue Jays 0...

I ripped Masahiro Tanaka for his last start and he looked at me and said "F-U!" with his latest performance. I love it! Outside of Dellin Betances, I liked everything about this game as the Yankees took down the Jays for their 90th win of the season on Friday afternoon.

While many people were speculating about whether this was Masahiro Tanaka's final regular season start wearing a Yankees uniform, Masa-hero came out strong. I always like to use the first inning as a barometer and Tanaka was firing on all cylinders, striking out the side on thirteen pitches.

In the bottom of the first, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a one-out single through the hole to shallow left field off Blue Jays starter Joe Biagini. With Aaron Judge at the plate, Ellsbury stole second for his 22nd stolen base of the year. Judge ended up taking a walk anyway. Didi Gregorius was next and he singled to right on a looper that dropped in front of right fielder Michael Saunders to load the bases.  Starlin Castro hit a soft grounder between third and the pitching mound, and Biagini had no play by the time he got to the ball. Ellsbury scored on the play.  Greg Bird's sacrifice fly to deep center scored Judge. It was the seventh consecutive game with a RBI for Greg Bird who has gone from a season afterthought to one of its prime performers in a matter of just a few weeks since he returned from the disabled list.  

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Headley struck out to end the inning but the Yankees had a 2-0 lead.  

Tanaka held the Blue Jays hitless through two outs in the top of the 5th inning, when Ezequiel Carrera hit a grounder to second. Starlin Castro went hard after the ball, crashing his knee against the ground, but his throw was not in time to get Carrera at first. With Raffy Lopez batting, Carrera stole second. However, Tanaka got out of the inning when he turned to fire a perfect strike to Didi Gregorius at second to nail Carrera who was trying to dive back to the base. 

Austin Romine led off the bottom of the 5th with a single over the second baseman's head into right center. Romine was forced out at second when Aaron Hicks hit a grounder to second but Hicks was safe at first. With Jacoby Ellsbury at bat, Hicks stole second. Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to first for the second out.  Aaron Judge followed with a single to left, scoring Hicks. Blue Jays catcher was up the line for the outfield throw so there was no play at the plate but they got Judge between first and second for the final out.  

Ryan Goins picked up the Blue Jays' second hit off Tanaka in the 6th, a single to center that dropped in front of Jacoby Ellsbury, but Tanaka was still mowing hitters down so Goins didn't go anywhere when Tanaka struck out the side again. Thirteen strikeouts through six innings for Tanaka.  Incredible.  

Matt Dermody replaced Biagini in the bottom of the 6th inning. Didi Gregorius led off with a single to left. With Starlin Castro batting, Didi Gregorius stole second on what appeared to be third strike on Castro. However, Joe Girardi came out with the argument that it was a foul tip. The umps agreed with Girardi, and Didi returned to first base with Castro coming back to the plate.    Two pitches later, the outcome was the same. Castro swung at the third strike but Didi successfully stole second. Next, Greg Bird (rapidly becoming one of the Yankees best post-trading deadline "acquisitions") drilled a line drive single off the wall in the right field corner to score Gregorius. Danny Barnes entered the game in relief of Dermody and induced Chase Headley to hit into an inning-ending double play, but no matter, the Yankees had increased their lead to 4-0.

Tanaka allowed one more hit, a double down the line into the left field corner by Josh Donaldson in the top of the 7th, for a total of three. Donaldson got as far as third on a ground out, but Tanaka retired the next three batters in order including two by strikeout to end the inning and his time in the game. He finished with fifteen strikeouts to go with no hits, no runs, and no walks.  It was simply an outstanding performance by Tanaka. If this was his final regular season start as a Yankee, thank you very much. It was a masterpiece to remember.

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP

David Robertson pitched the 8th inning. It started with the first walk by a Yankees pitcher in the game, but the runner was erased on a beautiful double play. Raffy Lopez hit a grounder to Greg Bird at first. Bird threw to Didi Gregorius for the force at second. Didi's throw back to first hooked out but Bird sprawled out on the ground for the catch with his right foot still on the bag.  Excellent defensive play by Bird. D-Rob struck out Ryan Goins to end the inning.  

The 9th inning was not quite as much least not at the start. Dellin Betances came in with a chance to prove he has finally righted the ship. Richard Urena had other ideas and led off with a single to right, a one hop off the wall.  With Teoscar Hernandez at the plate, a Betances pitch went off Austin Romine's glove for a passed ball on the catcher. Urena moved to second. Betances ended up walking Hernandez and all you could do was shake your head. End of Betances, who is running out of time to prove that he can be trusted with late inning relief again. I hate to say it, given my disdain for the man, but Dellin is proving Yankees president Randy Levine was right for his critical comments about Betances after the reliever's arbitration hearing in the off-season.  

Credit:  Abbie Parr-Getty Images

Enter Aroldis Chapman. Man, oh, Man, I am so happy this guy is the Missile again. He struck out Josh Donaldson on three pitches for the first out. Jose Bautista hit a grounder to short and the Yankees were able to force Hernandez out at second but they couldn't turn the double play when the ball went over Greg Bird's head. The ball bounced back so Urena had to hold at third. With Rob Refsnyder batting, Bautista took second on defensive indifference. Chapman laid three 100+ mph fastballs across the plate for Refsnyder, with the last pitch hitting 102 mph. Three swings and misses by the former Yankee. Game over. Yankees win!

The Yankees (90-70) looked like a playoff team in this game. They picked up a game on the Boston Red Sox, who lost 3-2 to the Houston Astros at Fenway Park. The Yankees trail the Sox by two games with two to play. I don't expect the Yankees to catch the Red Sox but they've certainly made it interesting these final days of the season.  

Mike Axisa had a great tweet after the game about Tanaka pitching on seven days rest: "One day it will be acknowledged that Tanaka does not actually pitch better on extra rest. Today is not that day."

The Yankees have announced a pitching change for today's game at 1:05 pm ET.  CC Sabathia (13-5, 3.84 ERA) gets the start over Jaime Garcia since the Yankees are still in contention for the AL East title. Considering I am not a fan of Garcia, I like the move even if it doesn't yield the division title. Sabathia will be opposed by Toronto's Marcus Stroman (13-8, 3.06 ERA). A great long-time (soon to be ex?) Yankee versus a great potential future Yankee? Today, let's go with the past!

Odds & Ends...

Brad Ausmus became the first managerial casualty when it was announced earlier this week that he would not be retained after the season by the Detroit Tigers. I can still remember being disappointed when the Colorado Rockies chose Ausmus, a catcher, in the 1992 Expansion Draft out of the Yankees farm system. Of course, I didn't really know anything about a guy named Jorge Posada at the time. The latest non-returnee is Pete Mackanin of the Philadelphia Phillies. After the season, Mackanin will become a special assistant to Phillies GM Matt Klentak. As a rebuilding team, I thought that Mackanin would be back but apparently the Phillies leadership team felt otherwise. Two managerial job openings and counting although it's been widely speculated that Terry Collins of the Mets will not return. So make it three...

The Minnesota Twins have activated their best hitter, 3B Miguel Sano, off the disabled list. Sano was placed on the DL in August when he fouled a ball off his left shin. Sano will have the weekend to get ready for next Tuesday's Wild Card game.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-AP

Tonight, I will be at Coors Field to watch Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Colorado Rockies. It will be Kershaw's final appearance of the regular season as he tunes up for his NLDS Game 1 start next week. This will be the first time I get to see Cody Bellinger play in person.  It should be a great game. As a former Los Angeles resident, I have so missed the ability to go to Dodger Stadium on a regular basis.  

Have a great Saturday! My only request for today is a Pinstriped victory! Let's get Greedy! Go Yankees!

Every Team’s 2017 Regular Season MVP… Because Why Not?

Boston Red Sox: Chris Sale
New York Yankees: Aaron Judge
Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop
Tampa Bay Rays: Steven Souza Jr.
Toronto Blue Jays: Justin Smoak

Cleveland Indians: Corey Kluber (could have been one of many players though)
Minnesota Twins: Brian Dozier
Detroit Tigers: Michael Fulmer, because Justin Upton was traded
Kansas City Royals: Eric Hosmer
Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Mike Trout
Texas Rangers: Elvis Andrus
Houston Astros: Jose Altuve
Seattle Mariners: Nelson Cruz
Oakland Athletics: Khris Davis

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom
Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon
Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman, as a first baseman or a third baseman.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
Philadelphia Phillies: Aaron Nola

Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant
Milwaukee Brewers: Eric Thames because I feel bad giving it to Travis Shaw for half a season
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
St. Louis Cardinals: Tommy Pham, potential Rookie of the Year if it weren’t for Cody Bellinger
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto

Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt
San Diego Padres: Brad Hand, because who else would it be?
Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon

Leave your thoughts, gripes and disagreements below in the comments section. This was all for fun though, treat is as such. Thank you in advance!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 9/30

And then there were two. Well, technically for the New York Yankees there is at least three games left this season if you include the playoffs but there are just two games left during the regular season including this afternoon’s affair with the Toronto Blue Jays,. In the middle game of the three-game set this weekend the Yankees will send Jaime Garcia to the mound for likely his final start in Yankees pinstripes while the Blue Jays will counter with hopefully a future Yankee in Marcus Stroman. I have written about the Yankees potentially acquiring Stroman before and I stand by my thoughts and wishes for the New York-born righty to join the squad in 2018, even if it costs a guy like Jordan Montgomery plus prospects. That may be foolish and it may be the fan in me talking, I admit that, but I just really like Stroman on the mound. I can’t help it.

Garcia was not sharp in his last start for the Yankees against these same Toronto Blue Jays allowing five runs on four hits, walking three and striking out four on September 24. Garcia will have to be better this afternoon in his final start as a Yankees presumably this season.

Stroman heads into the final start of the season for himself just three innings short of 200 innings for the season. Stroman is also seven innings shy of tying a career high in innings pitched for him in a single season of 204 innings, a mark Stroman set back in 2016. Stroman has the stuff to go nine or even ten innings though when he is on so stay tuned to see if the right-hander can reach those milestones.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on FOX. I am pretty sure the nationally televised games on FOX are blacked out on MLB TV and everywhere else but don’t quote me on it as I am not 100% sure. I know they are for me though, so be advised. Enjoy the game, need a win so get a win. Get two more wins actually. Go Yankees!

So it Seems… Happy Saturday Morning

Good morning all and happy Saturday. Welcome to the weekend, officially. I hope everyone had a great night of sleep and a great work week, and if you didn’t then I hope you make up for it on the weekend. There’s just two games left during the regular season before the playoffs and before the eventual and inevitable long winter ahead. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to brace yourselves… that winter is coming. I won’t make any jokes about winter already being here either, or dead dragons, or even men named Snow. I’ll just tell you good morning and I’ll thank you for checking in with the blog each and every day.

Especially you. HEY YOU. Good morning beautiful. I love you. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/30: Yankees Win 100 Games

On this day in 2004 the Yankees won their 100th game, something they have done in three straight seasons, and their seventh consecutive American League Eastern Division championship. The Yankees join only the Braves from 1997-1999, the Orioles from 1969-1971, and the A's from 1929-1931 as the fourth team to win 100 games in three straight seasons.

Also on this day in 1973 the Yankees played, and lost, their final game played at the old Yankees Stadium before George Steinbrenner had the field renovated. The 50 year old Cathedral of Baseball would take two years to renovate while the Yankees played their home games at Shea Stadium.

Also on this day in 1966 Roger Maris blasted a two run home run in his final at bat as a member of the New York Yankees. Maris would be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the season for utility man Charley Smith.

Also on this day in 1962 Mickey Mantle belted his 30th home run of the season off of the White Sox's Ray Herbet. This would be the Mick's eight consecutive season of hitting at least 30 home runs in a season. This was amazing considering Mantle missed a month of the season with a leg injury.

Finally on this day in 1927 Babe Ruth would break his own record for home runs in a single season when he hit his 60th of the season off of Senators starter Tom Zachary. In a side note Hall of Famer Walter Johnson would make his final appearance of his major league career when he pinch hit in this game.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Quick Hit: 2017 Fantasy Baseball Awards

The 2017 season is coming to a close and the 2017 fantasy season has all but concluded here so let’s take a look at who won you your respective leagues and who will be taking home the 2017 Fantasy Baseball major awards.

If you drafted Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton this season you were probably very happy with your pick. Why? Chicks, and fantasy owners, dig the long ball and both players have surpassed 50 home runs this season for their respective teams. One of these two have to win the Fantasy MVP and I think, all bias aside, that Judge has to ultimately take home the award. Judge hits home runs, sure, but he also takes his walks and has a great on-base percentage and RBI total. Sure, Judge is going to strikeout a lot but like in the game and in Fantasy Baseball an out is an out no matter how you record it. Cody Bellinger and Elvis Andrus should also get at least some consideration after strong fantasy seasons.

It is easy to load up your pitching staff with Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Chris Sale or other perennial All-Star pitchers but it is usually those diamond in the rough type guys that wins you your league and three names in particular stood out for me this season in fantasy. Alex Wood of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Luis Severino of the New York Yankees and Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins. Where would the Twins be without Santana this season? Not in the AL Wild Card Game, you can bet that, and the same may be said for the Yankees and their sudden emerging ace Severino. Wood though may have shocked the world with his start to the 2017 season heading into the All-Star break with an 11-0 record. Wood is now an MLB 15-game winner with a sub-3.00 ERA and a miniscule WHIP making him an absolute steal for any owner that drafted him or picked him up via trade or off of waivers.

The final award we will hand out for Fantasy Baseball this season will be the Rookie of the Year. I am going to cheat a little bit and I am going to leave Judge off the list since I already handed him the MVP award and instead take the time to honor and showcase the season that Whit Merrifield had for the Kansas City Royals. No one knew the name Merrifield before Raul Mondesi Jr. began the 2017 season with a  .114 batting average as the team’s starting second baseman pushing the team to call up Merrifield from Triple-A. Merrifield has done nothing but impress since his late April call up stealing over 30 bases and pushing 20 home runs and 80 RBI keeping the Royals in the playoff chase all season long.

According to the USA Today here are the Top 15 players for your 2018 Draft. Yes, it’s early but it’s never too early for some to start preparing for next season. Enjoy.

1.     OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
2. 2B Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
4. OF Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies
5. 3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
6. SS Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
7. OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
8. SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
9. OF Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
10. SP Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
11. OF Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
12. 3B Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
13. 1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
14. 3B Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
15. SS Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

Yankees Potential Wild Card Game Roster

The New York Yankees are in the postseason and despite the hopes, dreams and optimism by many including myself it will be as a Wild Card winner. The good news is that Yankee Stadium will play host to the game between them and the Minnesota Twins but the bad news is that anything, and I mean anything, can happen in a one-game playoff. The Yankees can only do what they can do and take care of business on the field but what happens on the field may be directly related and linked to what manager Joe Girardi and his coaching staff is undoubtedly talking about right now off the field, the roster. The Yankees can bring 25 men with them to the Bronx to play host to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, October 3 but what 25 men will they bring? I’m so very glad you asked…  

The team has a number of “locks” for the postseason Wild Card round. These locks are below:  

Gary Sanchez
Greg Bird
Starlin Castro
Didi Gregorius
Todd Frazier
Brett Gardner
Jacoby Ellsbury
Aaron Judge
Austin Romine
Luis Severino
Dellin Betances
David Robertson
Chad Green
Tommy Kahnle
Aroldis Chapman 

The team also has a number of players who are very likely to make the roster, which are laid out below: 

Chase Headley
Chasen Shreve
Masahiro Tanaka
Sonny Gray
CC Sabathia
Ronald Torreyes
Jordan Montgomery
Jaime Garcia 

By my unofficial count that is 22 of the available 25 roster spots leading me to wonder what will the Yankees do with the remaining three spots? By the way I am aware that both Jordan Montgomery and Jaime Garcia would likely be unavailable due to pitching on Saturday and Sunday respectively but pitchers throw in between starts and at this point in the season I could see manager Girardi try to get an inning out of both if he could, say if the game went into extra innings or something like that. Remember, this roster is just for this one game. A new set of rosters is chosen if and when the Yankees make it to the American League Division Series.

Tyler Wade is a name that is being thrown around as teams love to have speedy base runners and defensive specialists on the bench for late-game situations. Another name that has been thrown around is Clint Frazier who has not only provided a spark for the Yankees on the field but Frazier is also someone who has molded into the team chemistry off the field and inside the clubhouse as well. Matt Holliday was signed to be the team’s everyday DH in 2017 and was doing well until a bout with the Epstein-Barr virus zapped him of his conditioning and energy. Holliday could be brought on as a power threat off the bench late in a game but the final spots may go mainly to pitching. You can never have enough pitching and with that in mind the Yankees may take a long look at one of Bryan Mitchell, Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder, all assuming that Adam Warren isn’t back from injury by then. Warren was activated today but I always remain cautiously optimistic until they have a few innings under their belt after returning from injury, especially for a back injury. 

None of the three arms have pitched much at all this month for Girardi but one of them has pitched better than the rest in an extremely small sample size and that’s Ben Heller. Girardi is a very “what have you done for me lately” kind of manager with his young guns so I can see Heller getting the spot over Giovanny Gallegos, Domingo German or the other two men mentioned previously.

In my opinion the final three spots will go to Matt Holliday (because Girardi loves his veterans), Tyler Wade (because Girardi loves his base stealers and playing a National League type game from time-to-time), and Ben Heller. Again this is all subject to change if Adam Warren is deemed ready to go by next Tuesday, if he is then the North Carolina product will get the ball. Stay tuned. 

Leave your thoughts below in the comments section. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 9/29

Three games left this season before the playoffs ladies and gentleman, three more games including the one that is just about ready to begin between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. In the start this afternoon the New York Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound for one final tune-up before a potential playoff start for the Japanese-born right-hander while the Blue Jays will counter with Joe Biagini. The game will be played at 1:05 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 the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, get three more wins and make the Red Sox sweat a little. Go Yankees!!!

Prediction: Yankees win 4-3

How Underrated is Didi Gregorius?

The title is a pretty straight-forward question, just how underrated is the Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius? I’m not talking about just on the field either, I’m talking about off the field as well. How damn lucky did the New York Yankees get when they made that trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Detroit Tigers a few seasons back bringing Gregorius to the Bronx? Do they even know how lucky they are with the acquisition? If the organization doesn’t they will after they get done reading this post I assure you.

Let’s start with what is quantifiable, the on-the-field version of Sir Didi. Gregorius is having another great season here in the Bronx for the Yankees and no one can notice because of the monster home run after monster home run from Aaron Judge this season. Quietly Didi has knocked Yankees great and former captain Derek Jeter from the Yankees record books here in 2017 with his 25th home run of the season, most ever by a Yankees shortstop in a single season. Didi has always been an absolute wizard defensively and is slowing showing more and more power with every passing season with the Yankees making him one of the most valuable assets that New York has every single game. Imagine if Didi hadn’t missed the first three weeks of the season with a shoulder injury, he may have 30 home runs, 100 RBI and still be pushing an on-base plus slugging over .800. If it weren’t for Judge the Yankees shortstop would be their MVP here in 2017, and it wouldn’t be much of a discussion.

Off the field the Yankees shortstop runs a charity and organization called DIDIsDEEDs helping those in need and generally doing good deeds around New York City as the name implies. Didi has been seen handing out free tickets to Yankees games on the subway and even in the CN Tower this season as a part of DIDIsDEEDs meaning the left-hander fits the mold of a Yankee off the field as well. Looking for your next Yankees captain, Didi may fit the mold. I know he didn’t come through the system and I know the captain-ship would be handed to Judge or Brett Gardner first but I’m just saying that Didi wouldn’t be a bad choice for the job either. Didi bleeds Yankees pinstripes and represents the team and the organization very well, on and off the field.

Didi for Captain, 2018. Flame me below in the comments section.

How to Lose the AL East with One Pitching Move...

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-AP
Rays 9, Yankees 6...

Despite four home runs, the Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in the series finale and their AL East title hopes are clinging on life support. I thought Manager Joe Girardi mismanaged the fateful 5th inning after Sonny Gray had relinquished the lead, bringing in the woefully inconsistent arm of Jonathan Holder when there were many superior options available.  

The first sign that Sonny Gray might not have it on Thursday night was Corey Dickerson's first inning home run to the second deck in right which gave the Rays an early 1-0 lead.  

The Yankees wasted no time in coming back when Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge led off the bottom of the 1st inning with back-to-back home runs. Both players took Rays starter Jacob Faria deep to right into the second deck. It was Judge's 51st home run of the year. The Yankees had taken the lead, 2-1.

Credit:  Noah K Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays had a potential scoring opportunity in the top of the 2nd when Gray walked two batters, Daniel Robertson and Cesar Puello with only one out. There was a brief delay when a Gray pitch hit the dirt and bounced up to hit Gary Sanchez on the collarbone during Robertson's at-bat. Sanchez was able to shake it off and stay in the game. After Peter Bourjos lined out to right for the second out, Mallex Smith singled to left. The Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo unwisely sent Daniel Robertson home rather than holding him up at third. Brett Gardner's arm was smarter than the coach as Robertson was easily thrown out at home for the final out.

The Yankees picked up another run in the bottom of the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right past a diving Lucas Duda with one out. While Todd Frazier was batting, a passed ball off the glove of Rays catcher Wilson Ramos allowed Ellsbury to take second.  Frazier then singled to left, scoring Ellsbury.  A  pitch got away from Ramos with Brett Gardner batting and Todd Frazier tried to advance to second but was thrown out. Gardy subsequently walked but Aaron Judge flied out to end the inning. As Michael Kay put it, "A sky high fly". Nevertheless, the Yankees were up 3-1.

Chih-Wei Hu took over for Jacob Faria on the mound in the bottom of the 4th (Who is on the mound? I don't know, Hu?). He was quickly introduced to the game when Greg Bird led off with a home run to the first row of the right field seats. Hu retired the next three batters, but the Yankees had increased their lead to 4-1. 

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

The dreadful 5th inning arrived with Sonny Gray still on the mound for the Yankees. The previous inning had gone so well for Gray. Three outs on six pitches. It was hard to foresee the disaster that awaited him in the 5th. Gray was able to get the first batter, Peter Bourjos, out on a grounder to short. Then the Rays rally began. Mallex Smith singled to right on a fly that dropped in.  Corey Dickerson hit a line drive to center for a single with Smith moving to third. A wild pitch from Gray allowed Smith to come home to score. Gary Sanchez tried to throw to Gray covering home but his throw was too far right for Gray to catch as Smith slid safely into home plate. Sanchez was charged a throwing error on the play as it allowed Dickerson to advance two bases to third.  

Credit:  Abbie Parr-Getty Images

Evan Longoria struck out for the second out, but Dickerson subsequently scored when a passed ball went through El Gary's legs. Lucas Duda walked, and it brought Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild out to the mound. It always seems like Larry's talks fail and this was no exception. The next batter, Wilson Ramos, homered to center just over the wall into Monument Park and the Rays had taken a 5-4 lead.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-AP

Adeiny Hechavarria followed with a single to center and it was the end for Sonny Gray. Gray made a couple of throws to first during Daniel Robertson's at bat to buy time for the bullpen, but I have to admit that I was bewildered by Joe Girardi's decision to bring in Jonathan Holder even though I'd seen Holder warming up. Holder is a fine prospect and did a decent job for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders but he hasn't really pitched in many big spots for the Yankees this year. He may eventually become a leading arm in the pen but I would have gone with one of the tried and true in an effort to keep the game close. Holder hit the first batter he faced, Daniel Robertson, with a pitch.  Runners at first and second. Cesar Puello singled to center on a ball that dropped in front of Jacoby Ellsbury with Hechavarria coming around to score.  Robertson moved to second. Peter Bourjos tripled to left on fly that hit the warning track and bounced off the wall, clearing the bases, and it was 8-4 Rays. Girardi finally pulled Holder and brought in Chasen Shreve who struck out Mallex Smith to end the inning. But the Rays had scored seven runs.

In the bottom of the 5th, with Tommy Hunter taking over for Chih-Wei Hu, Brett Gardner led off with a walk. After Aaron Judge struck out, Gary Sanchez was hit by a pitch on the back of his left shoulder. Runners at first and second.

Credit:  Abbie Parr-Getty Images

Didi Gregorius hit a grounder to second and the Rays were able to force Sanchez for the second out, with Gardy moving to third. Starlin Castro hit an infield single to short, beating the throw to first which brought Gardner home to score. Greg Bird, representing the potential tying run, struck out to end the inning but the Yankees had gotten a run back, 8-5.  

With Chasen Shreve still on the mound, the Yankees retired the first two Rays in the top of the 6th. But Trevor Plouffe, pinch-hitting for Lucas Duda, homered to left into the second deck, to restore the Rays' four run lead. Shreve walked Wilson Ramos next and was pulled in favor of Ben Heller. Heller struck out Adeiny Hechavarria to end the inning without any further damage.

The Rays bullpen kept the Yankees offense quiet from there. Aaron Hicks, pinch-hitting for Todd Frazier, did manage to hit a solo home run to right into the bullpen in the bottom of the 9th against Chaz Roe but it was too little, too late. The other Yankees went down quietly, with Aaron Judge flying out to right to end the game.

This was a disappointing loss and I am bewildered why Girardi trusted Holder with the game on the line when the pitcher has done nothing this year at the MLB level to warrant consideration at that point. The Boston Red Sox lost 12-2 to the Houston Astros so the Yankees (89-70) could have picked up a game. Instead, they remain three games out with three to play.  The best they can do is tie the Red Sox if they sweep the Blue Jays and the Astros sweep the Red Sox. More than likely, the Red Sox sew up the AL East title either tonight or tomorrow.  

I hate losing winnable games. If the 5th inning hadn't gotten away from the Yankees, they would have/could have won this game. If the Yankees play like this next Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins, it's going to be a very short post-season experience.  

Next Up:  Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY...

And so, we've reached the final series of the regular season. It seems like we were just playing exhibition games at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. The Blue Jays completed a successful three-game road trip in Boston on Wednesday, winning two of three games. They are also the only team to win a series against the Yankees this month. Hopefully, the wins come our way in the latest and final series before the post-season begins.

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

Blue Jays:  Joe Biagini (3-12, 5.34 ERA)
Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (12-12, 4.94 ERA)

Blue Jays:  Marcus Stroman (13-8, 3.06 ERA)
Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (1-3, 4.70 ERA)

Blue Jays:  Brett Anderson (2-2, 6.04 ERA)
Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (9-7, 3.96 ERA)

This is most likely Jaime Garcia's final start for the Yankees. I hope that it's not the final regular season start for Masahiro Tanaka's Yankees career. We all know that this is just the conclusion of the great start of Jordan Montgomery's career in Pinstripes. Looking forward to many successful wins going forward, including the 2017 post-season.

Odds & Ends...

The Yankees are planning to activate RHP Adam Warren off the disabled list today. Hopefully, he'll be able to get in some work this weekend in preparation for the post-season (which, we hope and pray, is much longer than a one-game stay).  

Have a great weekend! Let's get the momentum rolling for October! Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 9/29

Good morning ladies and gentleman and welcome to the final weekend of the 2017 MLB regular season. Three games left before the postseason, three games before the Yankees play host to the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Game. Three games before the stats are wiped clean and the last 162 games of the season don’t matter anymore. Three. More Games. In the start this afternoon, while we are on that note does anyone else think it’s weird to be played at Friday afternoon game in the Bronx today, the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound for his final tune-up before the postseason while the Blue Jays will counter with Joe Biagini.

Tanaka has struggled in two of his last three outings which, in the words of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, is not what you want heading into the playoffs. Tanaka struggled against the Rangers and these Toronto Blue Jays in those two starts including a three home run game against the Jays inside the Rogers Centre on September 22.

Biagini has been consistently inconsistent all season long so no one, not even Joe himself, knows what to expect out of him this afternoon in the Bronx. In Biagini’s last start the Jays starter allowed three runs in five innings of work with four walks scattered in and if he does that against the Yankees this afternoon it will likely be another victory for New York.

The game will be played at 1:05 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 the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game, need a win so get three more wins and stay red hot for the postseason. Go Yankees!

So it Seems… This Team Just Keeps Having Fun

Good morning everyone and Happy Friday. My apologies for the absence on the blog yesterday but sometimes life just happens and there’s not much else you can do about it. I’ll try to do better. One team that can’t really do much better is the New York Yankees who are on an absolute roll here in September. The team is having one of their best September’s in a long time and they are having so much fun doing it, aren’t they? I mean isn’t it apparent? With the thumbs down after every RBI hit and home run, the celebrations in the dugout and the fake interviews by the players. This is a team, not just a collection of players. This team has gelled and fun is being had by all, a great sign for a young and loose team that is headed to the postseason.

Keep having fun, keep winning games and don’t stop until the calendar runs out of games to play. Enjoy the game, it is a game after all. Everyone I hope you have a great weekend. Especially you, HEY YOU. I love you Kari!

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/29: Don Mattingly Has Six Grand Slams

Don Mattingly had a career with the bases loaded in 1987 as he hit more home runs with the bases loaded this season then some people hit in their entire careers. Mattingly set a major league record on this day by hitting his sixth grand slam of the season passing Ernie Banks (1955 Chicago Cubs) and Jim Gentile (1961 Baltimore Orioles). What makes this more amazing is Mattingly played 14 seasons in his career and never hit another grand slam outside of the 1987 season.

Also on this day in 1934 Babe Ruth hit his 659th and final home run in a New York Yankees uniform. Ruth had 49 home runs with the Boston Red Sox before being sold to New York and would add six more with the Boston Braves before retiring in the 1935 season.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sevy and The Case of Homers & K's...

Credit:  Bill Kostroun
Yankees 6, Rays 1...

Pitching like I hope he does next week against the Minnesota Twins, Luis Severino dominated the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday behind home runs from Starlin Castro, Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks. He amassed nine strikeouts to put place his name among the greatest statistical leaders in franchise history.

On paper, the matchup looked like a mismatch in favor of the Yankees. However, Rays starter Matt Andriese kept the game scoreless for the first four innings. Then, Tampa's Adeiny Hechiavarria led off the top of the 5th with a home run, a high fly into the left field seats, to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead.  

Fortunately, the Yankee bats finally woke up in the bottom of the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury got it started by working a walk off Andriese. Aaron Hicks hit a grounder into right field, on a ball that got past a diving Brad Miller at second, for a single. Ellsbury raced around to third base. After Brett Gardner hit a line drive right at the shortstop for the first out, Aaron Judge doubled to the left field corner to score both Ellsbury and Hicks. The Yankees had taken the lead, 2-1.

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

After Severino breezed through the Rays in the top of the 6th, retiring two batters by strikeout, Starlin Castro led off the bottom of the inning with a home run to left center into the Rays bullpen. The Rays pulled Andriese and brought in reliever Xavier Cedeno. Greg Bird, with his beautiful swing, greeted Cedeno with a homer to right. Chase Headley kept it going with a single to left that squeezed through 3B Evan Longoria and SS Adeiny Hecchavarria. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded back to the pitcher for the out at first, while Headley moved to second. Aaron Hicks ended Cedeno's short stint when he homered on a high fly into the left field seats. The Rays pulled Cedeno and replaced him with Jose Alvarado.  It looked like the Yankees' big inning, with four runs already across, might continue. Brett Gardner doubled to left, and Aaron Judge walked. However, Alvarado struck out Gary Sanchez on three pitches and got Didi Gregorius to hit into a ground out at short. However, the Yankees had increased their lead to 6-1.

In the top of the 7th, Chasen Shreve replaced Severino. As the team's primary lefty in the bullpen, Shreve has been consistently inconsistent for weeks. He walked the first batter he faced, Stephen Souza, Jr. Corey Dickerson hit a grounder to first and the Yankees were able to force Souza out at second. But Adeiny Hechavarria followed with a single to right. Shreve was able to strike out Brad Miller, who has been struggling this year. But that would all as Joe Girardi opted to go with Chad Green to face Jesus Sucre. Green retired Sucre on a grounder to short that forced Hechavarria out at second with a flip from Didi Gregorius to Starlin Castro to end the inning.  

Dellin Betances pitched the 8th inning and looked strong. He retired the three men he faced with a total of 13 pitches. No walks, no hits, his 100th strikeout of the season...this is the Dellin that we need for October.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP

Aroldis Chapman pitched a clean 9th inning, ending the game on a swinging strikeout of Corey Dickerson. The Yankees win!

The Yankees (89-69) moved to twenty games above .500 for the first time this season. Unfortunately, the Boston Red Sox took a step closer to sewing up the AL East Championship with a come-from-behind 10-5 thrashing of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees remain three games behind the Red Sox with four to play. The Minnesota Twins lost 4-2 to the Cleveland Indians but they clinched the second Wild Card spot when the Los Angeles Angels fell to the Chicago White Sox in extra innings, 6-4. The Twins become the first team to reach the playoffs after losing 100 games in the preceding season.  

Credit:  Ron Schwane-AP

Luis Severino (14-6) now awaits the probable Wild Card game start next week against the Twins in the Bronx. He lowered his season ERA to 2.98.  His six innings of work yielded only four hits, a walk and a single run for the Rays. His nine strikeouts allowed him to reach 230 for the season, putting him in a third place tie with CC Sabathia for the most strikeouts in club history. Sabathia reached the mark in 2011. The strikeout leader is Ron Guidry who struck out 248 batters in his magical 1978 season, while Jack Chesbro had 239 K's in a mind-blowing 454 2/3 innings in 1904.  

This was another great team win with multiple hitting stars. The Yankees can become a 90-win team with their next victory. Honestly, that seemed impossible at the start of the season. Without so many key injuries, I have no doubt the Yankees would be leading the AL East right now. But the Yankees are now nearly healthy as they approach the season's biggest game next week against the Twins. I am not giving up on the AL East until the numbers say it's over, but at this point, it does seem improbable. This is a much better team than the one that lost the 2015 Wild Card game to Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros. 

Odds & Ends...

MLB Owners officially approved the sale of the Miami Marlins to the investment group headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The sale is expected to close within the next few days. I was never a big Jeter fan so I guess I am a little indifferent to the end of his direct association with the Yankees. I am sure that the true Jeter lovers are having a more difficult time but realistically, the Yankees won't see the Marlins very often. If they meet in the World Series, great! Otherwise, it'll just be a few games every few years in interleague play.  I am not going to lose any sleep about Jeter. He was a great Yankee and he is immortalized in Monument Park. But he's a Marlin now. I don't wish him any more luck than I'd wish Brian Sabean in San Francisco or Billy Eppler in Anaheim. They are simply other teams and...they are not the Yankees.  

Credit:  Getty Images

My favorite Core Four player was Mariano Rivera. No disrespect for Jeter and what he did for the Yankees. But now, he's just another guy trying to beat the Yankees.

I hate the one-game 'do or die' Wild Card format. I saw Daniel Burch post that he is in favor of at least a three-game series format. I completely agree. Exhibition games could be eliminated to expand the Wild Card format without pushing the World Series into November. I still think the best team may or may not win a three-game series but it's a thousand times better than the single game elimination. I take this position regardless of whether or not the Yankees win the Wild Card game.  

Have a great Thursday! Let's say goodbye to the Rays in good fashion...with a win! Go Yankees!