Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Judge Stays Hot, Yanks Come Back to Win First Series of Season, 8-4

The New York Yankees got back to .500 baseball today with their game two win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Today's game was a battle of young lefties, Jordon Montgomery for the Yankees and Blake Snell for the Rays. Montgomery was making his Major League debut and was doing so while the Yankees rookie catcher Kyle Higashioka was playing in his second big league game, something that hasn't happened in the Bronx since 1947. And with both starters making it only through 4.2 innings this afternoon, the battle of the bullpens opened the door for the Yankees to seal their first series victory of 2017.

Montgomery quickly received a full introduction to what life is like in the show. After recording his first two Major League strikeouts to begin the game, the lefty walked his first big league batter, Evan Longoria. And then he served up his first Show homer to the well-traveled veteran Ricky Weeks Jr., who blasted a Montgomery fastball over the left-field wall to give the Rays an early two-run lead.

Both lefties cruised through the first four frames, but both guys struggled and departed in the fifth inning. Montgomery started the fifth by giving up a double to Steve Souza Jr.. After striking out the next two batters, Montgomery was lifted for the right-handed Brian Mitchell to face the right-handed Weeks. And the journeyman came through again for Tampa, but in not-so-glorious fashion as the longball: Weeks hit a ground ball to second where it shot off Starlin Castro's glove and into right field, scoring Souza to push their lead out to three. Despite the early departure, Montgomery looked solid in his MLB debut; leaving with a final line of 4.2 innings pitched, allowing three runs(two earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out seven. If he can get control of his offspeed stuff consistently, this kid has a real bright future in the show.

Contrastly, Blake Snell had yet to allow a run and began the fifth by giving up the second Yankees hit, a leadoff single to Chase Headley. After walking Aaron Judge, rookie Kyle Higashioka loaded the bases when he reached base on a fielding error by shortstop Tim Beckham. After Pete Kozma and Jacoby Ellsbury both failed with back to back pop outs, Aaron Hicks drew a walk to score Headley from third to make it a 3-1 game. Snell was taken out for Jumbo Diaz, who promptly chucked a wild pitch during Matt Holliday's at-bat that scored Judge from third to close the gap at 3-2.

The Bombers completed their comeback mission and took the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Castro started the frame with a sharp infield single, advancing to second on a Headley single to right. A third consecutive single, this one was a missile by Judge that buzzed by the ear of reliever Jumbo Diaz, brought in Castro from second to pull the Yankees even at three apiece. Trying to advance the runners up a base; Higashioka bunted to third baseman Evan Longoria, who recorded the put out of Judge at second, allowing Headley to advance to third and Higashioka to reach first. In a pinch hit at bat; Brett Gardner lined a comebacker to Diaz, who misfired it to first base where Gardner and Weeks violently collided, allowing Headley to score from third to give the Yanks their first lead at 4-3. The result of the collision left Gardner being pinch ran for by Ronald Torreyes and Ricky Weeks Jr. being replaced by Logan Morrison. Ellsbury then smacked a single into centerfield, scoring Higashioka and moving Torreyes to third, 5-3. And the fourth and final run of the inning was scored when Aaron Hicks grounded out to third, allowing Torreyes to score to push their lead out to three.

Aaron Judge stayed white-hot by blasting his third homerun in as many games, a seventh inning 437-ft bomb to centerfield that scored Chris Carter to widen New York's lead to five at 8-3.

Though Tommy Layne gave up an RBI double to Corey Dickerson in the top of the eighth to make it 8-4, a combination of Jonathan Holder and Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth to shut the door on any Tampa hopes of a comeback and locked down the first Yankees series win of the 2017 season.

The Yankees will look to complete the three-game sweep of the Rays tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM/EST.


Yankees atop FORBES MLB List Once Again

Surprise, surprise. The New York Yankees are once again atop the FORBES most valuable Major League Baseball franchises for the 2017 calendar year. The New York Yankees franchise is worth an estimated $3.7 billion according to the publication although their gains from last year (9% growth from a year ago) were modest compared to other franchises as parity begins to show its face in the game. Ugh.

The team that rose the most was the Miami Marlins who grew 39% to $940 million followed closely by the Pittsburgh Pirates who grew 28% to $1.25 billion in net worth. Meanwhile the Cincinnati Reds grew the least at 1% and $915 million in worth overall in the league.

Following the Yankees at the top of the list are the Los Angeles Dodgers at $2.75 billion, the Boston Red Sox at $2.7 billion, the Chicago Cubs at $2.675 billion and the San Francisco Giants at $2.65 billion. There were 23 teams in all who were valued at or above $1 billion this fiscal year according to the publication.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 4/12

Afternoon baseball in the Bronx and two young stud lefties are going head-to-head, ladies and gentleman it really just doesn’t get much better than this. This afternoon in the Bronx the New York Yankees will play host to the Tampa Bay Rays in the middle game of their three-game set this week inside Yankee Stadium with a pitching matchup that will make any self-proclaimed “prospect hugger” a little excited. This afternoon the Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound to make his Major League debut in the Bronx while the Rays will counter with a young southpaw of their own in Blake Snell. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network or on MLB TV on your phone while you’re at work because stupid adulting gets in the way of watching a young prospect you have been following and beating the drum for. Well if you’re anything like me anyway.

Enjoy the game everyone. Follow along if you can’t watch yourself on Twitter and interact with us all season long by giving @GreedyStripes a follow. Go Yankees!!!

Meet a Prospect: Jordan Montgomery

As you have read numerous times already on the blog this morning the New York Yankees are calling up left-handed starter to the Bronx to make his Major League debut here in just a few short hours. For whatever reason, even after his strong 2016 season and equally strong spring camp this season for the Yankees, many don’t know who Montgomery is, where he came from or what he brings to the table as the team’s fifth starter this season so that is why we do these special posts here on the blog. So without further ado let’s meet the Yankees new fifth starter, this afternoon’s starter and just the first step towards the future in Mr. Jordan Montgomery. Can you guys tell that I’m a wee bit excited for this one? This is Meet a Prospect: The Jordan Montgomery Edition.

Jordan Blackmon Montgomery was born on December 27, 1992 in South Carolina where he began his amateur baseball career. Montgomery attended Sumter High School in Sumter, South Carolina where he played for the school’s baseball team. As a senior there Montgomery earned the state’s player of the year which led him to continue his amateur career at the University of South Carolina after graduation. As a member of the Gamecocks baseball team Montgomery was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year once and was also named as a Freshman All-American. The New York Yankees had seen enough and after his freshman year the team made a very generous offer to the lefty after selecting him in the fourth round, 122nd overall, in the 2014 MLB Draft and the rest, as they say, is history as he signed for the $424,000 signing bonus.

In his first season alone Montgomery pitched for two Yankees minor league affiliates including the Gulf Coast Yankees and the Staten Island Yankees leading to his promotion to Low-A with the Charleston Riverdogs at the open of the 2015 campaign. Montgomery wasn’t long for Charleston though as he was quickly promoted to High-A Tampa with the Tampa Yankees where he finished his 2015 due to the organization trying to limit his workload a bit. The 2016 season opened with Montgomery getting his first taste of Double-A ball with the Trenton Thunder and the lefty did not disappoint. Montgomery finished the season in Triple-A opening up many eyes as he continues to get stronger and better the higher up he climbed the organizational ladder leading to him receiving an invitation to spring training here in 2017.

Not many outside The Greedy Pinstripes blog knew of or talked about Montgomery much before this spring training but by the end of it the southpaw made sure that everyone knew his name, especially those making the organizational and roster decisions for the team. Montgomery won the fifth starter competition out of spring when hardly anyone had him pegged as even a candidate for the spot and will make his MLB debut this afternoon in the Bronx against division rivals in the Tampa Bay Rays.

Montgomery brings a four-pitch mix with him to the Yankee Stadium mound this afternoon that includes a fastball, a changeup, a cutter and a curveball. Montgomery’s fastball sits around 94 MPH and he can touch 96 MPH or above when he really reaches back, a vast improvement from the 88-91 MPH he threw in college with South Carolina, which only helps keep his second pitch, his changeup, deceptive as ever. Montgomery has a clean, consistent and clean delivery which should lead to consistency, location, command and durability throughout his career. Stability. That’s what Jordan Montgomery is going to bring this Yankees staff this season and for years to come and I personally absolutely cannot wait to watch it unfold.

Congratulations on winning the spot Jordan and welcome to the team, the organization and most importantly welcome to the family. Now stop reading this and go bring us back to .500 with a victory!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 4/12

After another off day the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays are ready to resume their three-game set this week in the Bronx and inside Yankee Stadium. On Monday Michael Pineda pitched an absolute gem and if it weren’t for Martha Stewart and her jinxing tweet and loud mouth the Yankees right-hander would have 100% pitched a perfect game, please sense the sarcasm in this statement before sending me some hate mail and comments. This afternoon the Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound looking to do the same while the Orioles will counter with Blake Snell. The future is now ladies and gents.

Montgomery will be making his MLB debut this afternoon in front of the Yankee Stadium crowd after winning the Yankees fifth starter competition this spring. Montgomery is a 24-year old left-handed starter that went 14-5 with a 2.13 ERA across Double-A and Triple-A last season. More on him later in a special Meet a Prospect on the blog.

Snell will be making his second start of the young season after struggling a bit against the Toronto Blue Jays in his first start. Snell allowed five runs in 6.2 innings last Thursday against Toronto as it was the same old story for the young lefty. Snell was effective overall but walks continue to hurt him, he had five against the Blue Jays, as they did last year.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on television on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game everybody and Go Yankees!

So Much For Your Promises...

As Jordan Blackmon Montgomery prepares for his first Major League start later today, the Shattered Dreams Award must reside with reliever Tyler Webb.  Webb had been selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates last December.  As a lefty, he stood a decent chance of making the Pirates roster.   His Spring numbers for the Pirates were legit.  In 13 innings pitched over the course of 8 games, he did allow 13 hits and 4 runs (2.77 ERA), but he walked only one and struck out 11.  However, he lost the roster battle to former Yankee (and fellow left-hander) Wade LeBlanc and was returned to the Yankees organization. 

Back with the Yankees and not on the 40-man roster, Webb was assigned to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

On Sunday, in the second game of a double header with the Buffalo Bisons, Webb replaced starter Joe Mantiply for the RailRiders with two outs and two on in the bottom of third inning.  He struck out Rowdy Tellez to end the threat.  So far, so good.  The next inning started nicely, with the RailRiders nursing a 3-0 lead, as Webb struck out the first batter.  Then, unfortunately, the wheels came off.  When Webb was pulled from the game after two outs in the bottom of the fourth, he had allowed six singles and a double.  The Rail Riders had scored 6 runs to take the lead.  Webb did strike out the last batter he faced (Rudy Tellez for a second time).  So, for one inning of work, recording all outs by strikeout, the 6 runs left Webb with an ERA of 54.00.  Oddly enough, he wasn’t the loser as the RailRiders tied the game in the top of the fifth.  His replacement, Tyler Jones, took the loss by allowing three Bison runs over the next couple of innings.  It must be a horrible feeling to stand on the cusp of making a Major League roster, only to see your dream die and then you subsequently get shellacked in the minor leagues. At 26 going on 27, Webb is not going to get too many more opportunities.  Performances like Sunday will not exactly open any doors, except for the one leading out of baseball.  Hopefully, he’ll be more effective next time around and will be ready the next time he gets the call to The Show.  Otherwise, it's nothing but shattered dreams, shattered dreams...

Credit:  Pete G. Wilcox, Times Leader

So far, the only quality starts thrown by Yankees pitchers are pitchers who stand tall on the mound (6’6” or greater).  We’re on a roll with two consecutive quality  “tall” starts.  Sunday belonged to CC Sabathia (6’6”) with 6 innings of work and two earned runs (three total) even if he didn’t get the decision, and Monday featured the near perfect game by Michael Pineda (6’7”).  He went 7 2/3 innings, allowing only one run.  Jordan Montgomery (6’6”) looks to continue the “basketball pitcher” streak today.  If Montgomery struggles, perhaps Dellin Betances (6’8”) steps in to assist.  I have to admit that I kinda feel like Ronald Torreyes trying to high five Aaron Judge with this pitching staff.  When Aroldis Chapman is brought in behind these guys, it must seem like Tyrion Lannister following Jamie Lannister.  Or me chasing after Aroldis.

I am all for whatever edge the “downward angle” brings for Montgomery.  This is an exciting start and it is one that I am hopeful is very successful.  I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a Yankee-born pitcher since Andy Pettitte. 

According to Forbes Magazine, the New York Yankees are the most valuable MLB franchise, worth an estimated $3.7 billion.  The Los Angeles Dodgers are second, trailing the Yankees by nearly a billion dollars ($2.75 billion).  The others in the “billion dollars behind” category are the Boston Red Sox ($2.7 billion), Chicago Cubs ($2.675 billion), and the San Francisco Giants ($2.65 billion).  I have no problem thinking of a billion reasons why the Yankees are better than the rest of Baseball.  Now the proof is in the pudding.  But as much as I love the Yankees, I would seriously have to consider selling the team if my name was Steinbrenner.  

Happy Retirement to former Yankees outfielder Brennan Boesch.  Boesch was a decent platoon outfielder for a few seasons with the Detroit Tigers at the start of his career.  He played in 23 games with the Yankees during the 2013 season until his release in July of that year.  During his brief Yankees career, he batted .275 (14-for-51) with 3 HR's and 8 RBI's.  After his release by the Yankees, he subsequently played for the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds.  Last year, he was in the Boston Red Sox organization at the AAA Level, but missed the majority of the season with a broken wrist.  He was unable to get a spring invite from a Major League team this year.  Boesch is a player I liked and hoped would succeed but it wasn't meant to be.  I wish him the very best in his post-playing career.  

Credit:  David Richard, USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday!  Let’s get a win today!


So yes I am a total fan girl right now and yes I am totally excited for this afternoon’s game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays if you can’t tell by the title of the blog post. Jordan Montgomery is being called up to make his Major League debut this afternoon against another young and exciting pitcher in Blake Snell. More on that obviously in our game preview and game threads but while I like to keep those semi-professional and non-bias I just can’t put into words, although as you guys know I will try my best to anyway because I am me, how freaking excited I am right now.

I love the feeling of watching something or someone for a while and watching it grow and blossom into something amazing. Children, projects, relationships, prospects… That statement could apply to them all. I love it and today, ladies and gentleman, is going to be a good day. Call it a guy feeling, call it a hunch but just don’t call it a coincidence because I don’t believe in those. Everything happens for a reason. Find your reason.

Have a great day everyone and good morning!

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/12: Pope on a Rope Soap

On this day in 2008 the Yankees Low A affiliate, the Charleston Riverdogs, commemorate the first visit of Benedict XVI to the United States with a Pope on a Rope Night promotion. The first 1,000 fans received a soap figurine which looked like the Holy Father.

Also on this day in 1953 Mickey Mantle was informed via the public address announcer that Mickey Mantle had just became a father. Mickey Mantle Jr. was the first of four sons by Mickey and Merlyn. Here is the Brooklyn Dodgers announcement at Ebbets Field: "Mickey doesn't know it yet but he has just become the father of an eight-pounds, twelve ounce baby boy."

Also on this day in 1935 the Yankees named Lou Gehrig the fifth captain in their history. The then 33 year old first baseman joined Hal Chase(1912), Roger Peckinpaugh (1914-1921), Babe Ruth( six days in 1922), and Everett Scott(1922-1925).

Finally on this day in 1931 former Chicago Cubs Joe McCarthy made his managerial debut for the New York Yankees. The future Hall of Fame manager, who has the most wins of any manager in Yankees history with 1,460, saw eight pennants and seven World Series titles during his 16 years in the Bronx.