Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hicks' Two Homers & Stellar Severino Lead Yanks to Sweep of Rays, 3-2

In the first night Game at Yankee Stadium in 2017, the New York Yankees completed the three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays. Fans were definitely treated to a pitcher's duel tonight as both starters, Luis Severino for New York and Matt Andriese for Tampa Bay, battled back-and-forth with excellent command of the strike zone all night long. But as Jim Carey said in Ace Ventura, "Unfortunately, in every contest there must be a loser." And tonight, that loser was the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees struck quickly against the young right-hander, jumping out to an early lead in the bottom of the first. With one out, Aaron Hicks crushed an Andriese fastball deep over the right-center field wall for a solo shot that put New York up by one.

Tampa, however, was just as quick to respond as they tied the game in the top of the second. Logan Morrison started the rally with a one-out walk, advancing to second on a Mallex Smith two-out single. The number nine hitter Jesus Sucre then smacked a line drive single to center that scored Morrison from second to tie the game at one apiece.

In his last start, Severino gave up a fifth inning homerun to Manny Machado to let the Orioles back in a game that they eventually came back and won. Tonight, the 23-year old suffered the same fate as he allowed a deep fifth inning solo shot to Peter Borges that gave Tampa a one run lead.

Despite the fact that neither guy was getting much run support to speak of, both starters were outstanding as they both pitched into the late innings. Luis Severino was phenomenal even despite the longball, striking out a career-high 11 batters in his seven innings of work. Similarly, Matt Andriese was just as good, striking out five Yankees and starting all but three batters with strike one in his six frames.

The Rays turned the game over to left-hander Xavior Cedeno in the bottom of the seventh, and he in turn gave the Yankees the lead back. Erasmo Ramirez started the frame and was lifted for Cedeno after he gave up a one out single to Ronald Torreyes. After getting Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out; the lefty coughed up the second homerun of the night to Aaron Hicks, this one from the right side of the batters box to give the Yankees a one run advantage.

A combination of Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman came in the eighth and ninth innings respectively to seal the deal on the Yankees first sweep of 2017.

Tomorrow night, Yankee Stadium will play host to a total of 38 world championships as they welcome in the National League's St. Louis Cardinals for a three day weekend interleague series, with first pitch schedule for 7:05 PM/EST.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 4/13

One more time ladies and gentleman, let’s do it. The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays will square off here in a few minutes in the finale of their three-game set this week in the Bronx. The Rays and Yankees have faced off head-to-head now six times in the season’s first nine games so these two teams should be well acquainted by the time this one is over. In the finale the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound making his second start of the young season while the Rays will counter with Matt Andriese. 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.

Follow along tonight and all season long with us on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a follow. Go Yankees!

The Yankees & 2017 Special Event Uniforms

Every season Major League Baseball unveils six special event uniforms for the new season and while some love them, like myself, others hate them for whatever reason. I love them because over the past 100 years or so the Yankees have had the same old boring uniforms so it’s nice to see the sport and the team change things up a bit. Who doesn’t enjoy the pink bats and such on Mother’s Day and now the pastel blue for Father’s Day? Anyway here is a sneak peek at the six special uniforms for the 2017 season. Enjoy, or don’t… you traditionalist you.

Father’s Day

Mother’s Day

Home Run Derby

All-Star Game

Memorial Day (couldn't find a Yankees one for whatever reason)

4th of July 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 4/13

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays will play for the sixth time in nine games already this season this evening as these two teams wrap up their three-game set in the Bronx. The Yankees introduced Big Mike back to the Big Apple in the first game of the series and introduced lefty Jordan Montgomery to the big leagues in the middle game leaving little ole Luis Severino to finish the series up for the Bronx Bombers. Opposing Severino on the mound this evening for the Rays will be Matt Andriese.

Severino pitched well overall in his season debut last time out against the Baltimore Orioles but when he made a mistake, a fastball right down the middle to Manny Machado, the Yankees division rivals made him pay with a three-run home run. Severino pitched five innings in the start and was the tough luck loser in the contest.

Andriese didn’t fare well in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays lasting just four innings in the contest. Andriese has had struggles with getting out of the fifth inning five times in his last 20 starts including his start on Friday and if his career pitching line against the Yankees inside Yankee Stadium last season is any indicator, 1-1 record with a 6.30 ERA in two starts, he may not be long for this game either if he makes a mistake or two to this offense.

The game will be played at 7:05 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 with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN if you’re not in front of a device or in your car. Either way it’s always Go Yankees!!!

Find An Apartment In The City, Monty...

Credit:  Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

“But I like it, I love it, I want some more of it…”

He didn’t get the win, gave up a home run to a journeyman infielder, and didn’t last the length of an official game, but Jordan Montgomery has earned my respect and I am looking forward to his next start.

Montgomery was rudely introduced to the Major Leagues by Tampa’s Rickie Weeks Jr, who hit a homer with two outs and one on in the top of the first inning.  It was a moment that could have sent any young pitcher (or Micheal Pineda) into a tailspin.  Instead, he induced Corey Dickerson into a ground out and it was inning over.   He did get into a little trouble in the third when he allowed a single to Peter Bourjos and hit Kevin Kiermaier with a pitch with just one out, however, he proceeded to strike out the next two batters to end the threat.

In the fourth inning, Steven Souza Jr doubled to start the inning.  What’s with all these Jr’s in the Rays lineup?  Maybe I should just call myself Fid Jr.  Sorry, I digress.  Back to the topic at hand, Montgomery struck out the next two batters (Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria).  At that point, he was pulled in favor of Bryan Mitchell.  Souza Jr subsequently scored on a fielding error by Starlin Castro so the run wasn’t charged against Montgomery.

The line reads 4 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts, but it doesn’t tell the story how Montgomery got tougher when the stakes were raised.  He was resilient and did not allow bad plays to influence his game.  Like Mariano Rivera, he had a short memory and was not intimidated by any of the Rays hitters, including slugger Evan Longoria.  Some guys may not profile as top of the line aces but they are just winners.  That’s what Montgomery is to me.  He seems like he can be a guy you want to hand the ball to in a pressure situation.  We need a few more of those.  

I thought it was great that the Yankees started Montgomery’s minor league catcher, Kyle Higashioka.  I am sure that helped with the transition to Yankee Stadium.  Higashioka didn’t do much with the bat, but that wasn’t why he was so important to the game.  Bravo to Montgomery for his first start and congrats to Higashioka for calling it.  I think Jordan will be even stronger the next time out.  The Yankees decision to promote Montgomery has been validated.  

For the game, the Yankees did win.  With the 8-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, they’ve won two of two out of a three game set.  The series concludes today.  At the beginning of the week, I was hopeful for two out of three.  Sorry, but now I want a sweep.  A 5-4 record would be so much better than 1-4 or in this case, 4-5.  Aaron Judge was 2-for-3 with yet another home run (his third in consecutive games).  But his single was the talk of the game.  The exit velocity of the ball was 116.5 MPH, the fastest base hit of 2017.  Is there any doubt Manager Joe Girardi made the right decision when he picked Judge over Aaron Hicks to start in right field?  All of us have known that Judge has the potential to be a monster.  He’s showing us the evidence.  

On the downside, Brett Gardner was injured in a collision at first base with Rickie Weeks Jr.  Not sure if the collision is a product of Weeks’ inexperience at first, but Gardner will be out for a few days with a bruised jaw and strained neck.  Aaron Weeks, who had completed a three game streak of starting in right, center, left figures to get a few more starts until Gardner returns.  In the interim, it pushes Jacoby Ellsbury to the top of the lineup as the leadoff hitter.  Ugh.  Here's hoping for a quick recovery to good health for Gardy.

Credit:  Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

Pitcher James Kaprielian has met with Dr Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles but no word has been released regarding Kaprielian’s decision.  I am sure this is a very difficult decision for the young hurler.  While I hope for the best result to get him back on the field again, what’s best for Kaprielian takes precedence over what’s best for the Yankees.  So, whatever decision Kaprielian makes, I will support and accept.

Regarding the 40-man roster, the loser of the seat at the table is pitcher Johnny Barbato.  While I was worried that Robert Refsnyder might be the player DFA’d, I did feel that it was most likely one of the lesser known pitchers.  I think in my mind, Barbato is the pitcher I thought of first.  Since being acquired from the San Diego Padres for reliever Shawn Kelley (now a vital part of the Washington Nationals’ bullpen), Barbato has not done anything at the Major League level.  His brief appearances have not been memorable and I was surprised over the winter when the Yankees left some quality guys off the 40-man roster to protect Barbato.  I assumed the Yankees saw something in the pitcher that I haven’t seen.    With the number of quality arms in the organization, I have no problem with losing Barbato.  Hopefully, GM Brian Cashman will be able to flip him for something of value as he’d probably be claimed off waivers by another team.  

With Montgomery’s strong start, I am hopeful that Luis Severino answers the bell today against the Rays.  After last year’s 0-8 record in starting assignments, I didn’t want to go into this year with Severino chasing wins again.  He failed his first attempt last week but today represents redemption.  I hopeful that he drops a “W” in his win-loss record so that we can get that bad boy out of the way and move into friendly debates about which young pitcher is better.  

We’ll have a Bird in the lineup today so there’s no reason we can’t fly!  Go Yankees, and have a great Thursday!

My Thoughts on the Young 2017 Season

The 2017 season is now officially eight games long, the ninth so start here in a few hours, so this seems like a good stopping point to collect my thoughts and impressions on the team. Three series in the Yankees are not where any team wants to be at this point in the season but there is an absolute ton of baseball left so I’m not screaming how the sky is falling or freaking out just yet. This is what I am thinking on though.

The pitching, overall, has been impressive. Sure Masahiro Tanaka hasn’t been thus far this season but he is the absolute least of my worries in the starting five. Assuming health, and nothing leads me to believe that an injury is causing his struggles thus far this season, Tanaka will be there when it matters and he should be much improved as the season drags on. Imagine if he pitched like vintage Tanaka in his two starts, the Yankees would very likely have two more victories and would be much closer to first place than they are.

The offense hasn’t been spectacular but it hasn’t been especially bad either. As the weather warms up the offense should get better as traditionally pitchers are always ahead of the hitters at this point in the season. Adding to that a healthy Gary Sanchez and a healthy Didi Gregorius and the Yankees offense could give teams a fit all summer long.

The bullpen has been amazing. Absolutely amazing. I am in love with this bullpen and with reinforcements potentially on the way I am very exciting about the 6th inning and beyond this season.

I know this isn’t the popular opinion but it’s an opinion I had before the season started and it’s an opinion I stand behind now nine games into the season that the New York Yankees have the potential to make a real run at a Wild Card this season. The team as is can stick around with most teams on most days but one must remember the Yankees have either the best or second best farm system, depending on what publication you are reading, in all of Major League Baseball. That either means they have a ton of options that they can plug in as reinforcements or it means that they could pull off the blockbuster or two that they need, as long as it’s done smart and not foolishly, to compete in July.

This team is scary and it’s sneakily underrated if you ask me…. But that’s only if you ask me. 

And Let the 2019 Free Agency Rumors Begin!

You know I just have to sit back and laugh at journalism, news reporting and blogging anymore. I really do. People will post anything and everything they can just to garner a click and a view because recognition means something to most. It doesn’t mean as much to me, although it’s human nature to want at least a little bit of recognition for your accomplishments, but I guess I can see where people do what they do. Some rely on this to make a living and I totally get that, I don’t. I have volunteered my time here for over five years now and I hope that this shows in my writing but before I get too off course let’s touch on what has me all worked up this morning. I was cruising my normal news outlets and bookmarks when I saw one publication was once again talking about the 2019 free agency class. What set this post apart from the 99,990,000 posts about that huge free agency class was this publication had “inside sources” that stated that one of those potential free agents, Manny Machado, was “open to playing for the New York Yankees.”

Right, sure he said that. Sure he came out pretty much two seasons before he hits free agency and told the media or some inside source that he would be open for playing for a division rival in the New York Yankees and just conveniently asked for it to remain anonymous. Yep, you convinced me. Come on now people, smarten up. If you read the actual interview with the New York Post, quote below, you would see that he never once said he was open to playing in New York. Stop click baiting!!! I won’t even link to the post because I am so frustrated and disgusted by it, but hey it worked. I clicked it and now I’m writing about it so surely a few will Google it and click it too.

"I'm sure now when we go to New York, it's going to be crazy. I know there is talk about the future and maybe me, Gary and Harper being together. That's New York. That's what goes on. You never know what to expect in this game," Machado said.

Machado is leaving his options open. Why would he show his hand or make a decision in 2017 when his decision doesn’t have to be made until the winter before the 2019 season? It doesn’t make sense and that’s how I know it’s not true. What doesn’t make sense usually doesn’t make sense for a reason. Okay guys, I’m done. Sorry. Rant over, I’ll put my soap box back under the bed for another time. Journalism just pisses me off anymore and sometimes I can’t and refuse to keep it to myself. Carry on and have a great Thursday. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 4/13: Nick Swisher the Pitcher

On this day in 2009 Nick Swisher was brought in as a relief pitcher throwing 22 pitches and allowing one hit and surrendering one walk in an inning of work. Swisher also struck out Gabe Kapler on a swinging strikeout and retired three consecutive batters to become the first positional player to pitch for the Yankees since Wade Boggs did it in 1997. Swisher volunteered to pitch an inning to save the bullpen in a 15-5 loss at Tampa Bay after Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang only lasted one inning.
Also on this day in 2008 construction workers at the new Yankee Stadium dug up a tattered David Ortiz Boston Red Sox jersey in the concrete of the new ballpark. The jersey was auctioned off to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. The New York construction worker, obviously a Boston fan, put it there hoping to put a curse on the new stadium.

Also on this day in 2005 a near by pedestrian saved the life of eight year old Patrick McCarthy by preventing him from walking out into a Boston road and getting hit by a truck. The hero who prevented the accident put his arm out and said "Whoa, watch out buddy" and caught the boys attention since he was his favorite baseball player, Alex Rodriguez.

Also on this day in 1998 a beam fell at Yankee Stadium and forced two Yankees home games to be postponed and one to be played at the New York Mets Shea Stadium.

Also on this day in 1978 Roger Maris returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time since the team traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966. Maris came back to help former teammate Mickey Mantle hoist the World Series flag after a promise was made to Maris by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to install sod and lights at a baseball field at Maris' children's school in Gainesville, Florida.

Also on this day in 1978 Reggie Jackson hit a home run in the first at bat of his season at Yankee Stadium. This is important because Reggie's final three at bats at Yankee Stadium in 1977 were home runs making this a fourth consecutive Yankee Stadium home run for Mr. October.

Also on this day in 1962 the Detroit Tigers pitcher Frank Lary pulled a muscle in his leg running out a triple, which he overcompensated with in his arm and ultimately injured himself and ended his career. This is Yankees news because Lary was always known as one of the original "Yankee Killers."

Finally on this day in 1939 Lou Gehrig, with apparent muscle loss around his shoulders, hit two home runs in an exhibition game against the Dodgers. These two home runs will be the last that the "Iron Horse" would ever hit in his major league career.