Thursday, May 11, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros 5/11

Game time in the Bronx between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees, let’s do it. Tonight Yankee Stadium will play host to the Astros and their ace lefty Dallas Keuchel while the Yankees will counter with one of their better pitchers thus far this season in Michael Pineda. Expect a lot of broken bats, strikeouts and hurt feelings tonight from the opposing offenses. 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 the WFAN program.

You can also follow along with us on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a follow. We are now less than 200 Twitter followers away from 5,000 so tell your wife, tell your kids and tell your friends. Enjoy the game and as always, Go Yankees!

CC Sabathia starring in The Curious Case of CC Sabathia

Coming this summer to a screen near you the latest movie “The Curious Case of CC Sabathia” starring CC Sabathia, Yankees GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner. On a serious note though what in the world is going on with CC Sabathia and what are the New York Yankees prepared to do about it? That’s the curious case if you ask me.

If the Yankees plan on competing in the American League East this season and if the team wants to go beyond the AL Wild Card Game and/or the American League Division Series you would have to believe they would need more out of the big left-hander or they will at the very least have to have a contingency plan just in case his struggles continue.

After the Yankees 5-3 loss in Cincinnati on Tuesday night the Yankees have seen CC go from one of the best pitchers in the game during his first three starts to one of the worst over the course of his last four starts. In that span Sabathia has pitched to a 9.58 ERA in 20.2 innings allowing 30 hits and 22 earned runs. In the now immortal words of Joe Girardi, that’s not what you want.

Sabathia is blaming the lack of control and sharpness of his cutter, especially to right-handed batters, and Joe Girardi agrees with him publicly. Where is Larry Rothschild in all this? It’s been four starts, which roughly equates to 20 days, since his last decent start. Come on now. Fix it or move him. Force him into retirement like you did Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. Do what you have to do, just do something.

He’s making $25 million this season before hitting free agency so it’s basically a sunk cost for the Yankees. New York is paying him that $25 million regardless of whether he is pitching in the rotation, the bullpen or for another team so the team might as well do what’s best for the organization this year because this team has a true shot at being special. They may just be one impact starter away…. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros 5/11

The New York Yankees have come back to the Bronx to play host to the Houston Astros in a four-game set. The first of that four game set goes down tonight as Michael Pineda and the Yankees will look to keep down Carlos Correa and former Yankees Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Meanwhile the Astros will send a thorn in the Yankees side in Dallas Keuchel to the mound looking to slow down the offensive attack of Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius. This game has all the makings of being really fun or really, REALLY frustrating.

Pineda has pitched the Yankees to five straight victories in his starts including his last start where he lasted six innings allowing just two runs on three hits in a victory over the Chicago Cubs. Pineda took the no-decision in the game but the Yankees offense and bullpen bailed him out in a game he pitched well in. Overall Pineda has struck out 43 batters while walking just five all season long, a trend that hopefully continues tonight in the Bronx.

Keuchel is a perennial Yankees killer and has been a constant thorn in the side of the Yankees throughout his career. Keuchel is 4-2 against the Yankees in his career with a 1.41 ERA in six starts including the 2015 American League Wild Card Game and an Opening Day start against the Bronx Bombers in 2016. Oh and Keuchel was also the American League Pitcher of the month for the month of April, there’s always that too. Oy Vey.

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 with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and as always, Go Yankees!

Past Performance Does Not Equal Future Results...

Credit:  Associated Press

CC Sabathia.  What to do…

There’s no doubt we would not have celebrated a World Series championship in 2009 if not for the efforts of one Carsten Charles Sabathia, Jr.  For the first three years of his contract with the Yankees, he was the epitome of an Ace.  I would never want to dismiss the contributions he has made to the Yankees organization or the value he has held as a leading voice in the clubhouse.

The times they are a-changin (with a hat tip to Bob Dylan).  Sabathia is now 36 and is clearly no longer the pitcher he once was.  He’ll be 37 in a couple of months, and despite his long talks with Andy Pettitte, he has not successfully made the transition to an older pitcher.  I was fooled for the first couple of starts this year, but we’ve seen the real Sabathia over the last few starts…and it hasn’t been pretty.  

At age 32 and before, CC could be counted on for double-digit wins every year.  From age 33 forward, last year’s 9 wins has been the season high.  Betting whether or not Sabathia passes last season’s win total is not a bet I would make even if I was using your money.  Pro Sports can be illogical at times when certain players start because of high contracts or past performance even though there are younger, more talented players waiting in the wings.  Years ago, a friend told me that baseball players should be paid a flat base salary and then commissions for production.  Applying that to different positions and players is much easier said than done, but the core logic that players should be paid for today’s production (not yesterday) makes so much sense to me.  We’re in the final year of Sabathia’s contract with $25 million remaining.  Does Sabathia deserve a spot in the rotation simply because he is the team’s highest paid player?  If he is not producing, then no.  Why pay money to lose when you can win?

In looking at the Yankees rotation, if they made a trade for a frontline starting pitcher, who do you pull?  At this point, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and Luis Severino are locked in.  The latter two have shown signs of being a part of the next championship run.  Jordan Montgomery has been a very pleasant surprise who will continue to get better.  So, realistically, the loser would have to be Sabathia.  I don’t know that I’d pull Sabathia for Chad Green or Luis Cessa, but Chance Adams is charging fast for the Major Leagues.  He may not be ready now, but his time is rapidly approaching.  If the Yankees go out and trade for someone like Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole, I’d gladly part with Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and others to bring the talented young pitcher to the Bronx.  For Sabathia, I’d pull out a Michael Kay line, “See ya!”.  

There’s no way that Sabathia is pulling on the pinstripes in 2018.  We are approaching the point where every start could be his last in the Bronx.  If he continues to thwart winning streaks, then it is time to cut our losses.  Swallow the remainder of the $25 mil and move on.  

Thanks for the memories, CC.  We’ll save you a place for Old Timer’s Day…

Credit:  Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

I have mixed feelings about Aaron Judge’s appearance on the May 15th cover of Sports Illustrated.  I grew up at a time where it was a curse to appear on the cover.  So, I still have those thoughts in the back of my head even if bad things never happen.  I have been quite pleased with Judge’s season so far and he gives New York a potential superstar.  But admittedly, I liked it better when Judge was able to out-produce expectations.  With heightened expectations, can he sustain the production?  That will be one of the keys for the rest of the season.  We’ll inevitably hit a stretch where he can’t (hit).  The ebbs and flows of Baseball ensures that everyone stays humble.  So, for now, congrats Aaron, but please hit a  homer on May 16th (Yankees are off on the 15th) so that I know the SI Cover is not a jinx.

I’d like to send out thoughts and prayers to Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, whom the Yankees faced on April 22nd in an 11-5 victory over the Pirates.  He underwent surgery for suspected testicular cancer earlier this week.  Hopefully it was caught early and he’ll make a full and complete recovery.  Taillon is one of the game’s promising young talents and I look for many future years of his participation.  All the best to Jameson on his road to a winning recovery.  Here is a tweet that he sent out after the surgery:

I think all Baseball fans support Taillon.  Well written words by the tall young right-hander.  Here's looking forward to the day that he is able to take the mound at PNC Park again.

Yesterday, the Yankees demoted Chad Green to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after one inning of scoreless relief on Tuesday in Cincinnati.  The Yankees did not immediately announce who will be taking Green's spot, but the speculation is right-handed reliever Giovanny Gallegos.  If so, this will be his Major League debut assuming that he gets into a game.  He is currently 0-1 with 3.86 ERA.  It's his strikeouts that stand out to me.  He has struck out 26 batters in 14 innings for the RailRiders with only 6 walks.

The Baltimore Orioles lost last night, so the Yankees and O's head into today's action in a first place tie in the AL East.   

Have a great Thursday!  Let’s hose the ‘Stros!  

So it Seems the Yankees Need a LOOGY

So it seems, for the second time today, the New York Yankees need a LOOGY. While the New York Yankees have easily been one of the best teams in all of Major League Baseball this season the team may have one glaring hole in their arsenal right now, the left-handed reliever out of the bullpen whose sole job is to get a left-handed batter or batters out. That’s better known as a LOOGY, or a Lefty One-Out GuY.

Tommy Layne is the man tasked with getting the opposing team’s toughest and best left-handed hitter out and to date he just hasn’t gotten the job done. Sure, the sample size is small but the stats are alarming and they simply won’t cut it on a team that looks to compete for an American League East Division title and possibly more.

At the time of this writing Layne is sporting an ugly 8.22 ERA and 2.217 WHIP in 11 games and 7.7 innings pitched but that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that lefties are slashing .400/.438/.533 this season against him with a walk. They aren’t walking because they are too busy smoking the meatballs he is leaving over the plate every single night.

This isn’t going to work guys. The Yankees need a LOOGY and they may need one now as Layne’s ERA and struggles rise and continue. The Pittsburgh Pirates may be in total sell mode this summer and one such arm, Tony Watson, is set to hit free agency after the 2017 season thus making him intriguing to New York. Since the beginning of the 2013 season Watson owns the second-best ERA against left-handed hitters and his 1.53 ERA is better than some familiar names like Aroldis Chapman (1.86), Andrew Miller (2.03) and Zach Britton (1.55). Watson is a strikeout pitcher that would fit extremely well in this bullpen and inside Yankee Stadium and he wouldn’t cost and arm and a leg in terms of prospects.

This is far too early to predict and obviously much of this depends on where Pittsburgh is sitting in the standings on or around July 31st but if they are out of it or want to move Watson I think the Yankees should jump on the deal, regardless of whether Layne turns it around or not. Improve the bullpen and turn every game into a five inning game, that’s the plan. Or it should be anyway.

So it Seems Things Are….

Turning around? I don’t want to say it out loud and I am kicking myself for even saying it out loud but could things finally and possibly be looking up? I mean is it a coincidence, and trust me I don’t believe in coincidences but I know that some do, that when you turn your back that good things start to happen? Close one door and two doors open kind of thing? Who knows? One thing I do know is what I want out of this world and what I want to do with my life and I took an absolute huge step in that direction this week. Maybe next week I can take another huge step in that direction. And another huge step and another huge step until I’m finally home and where I want to be in this world.

My head is up, even if it’s a cautious optimism, and I’m always moving forward. Never backwards. Adopt that life policy and you will be so much happier in this world. Enjoy and good morning. Hey You.

This Day In New York Yankees History 5/11: Hidek Matsui is Human

On this day in 2006 Hideki Matsui's streak of playing in every game since starting his MLB career with the Yankees ends at 518 games. Matsui broke his wrist attempting to make a diving catch out in left field. The 31 year old All Star from Japan established the major league record for the most consecutive games played to start a career surpassing Ernie Banks' mark of 424 games.

Also on this day in 1946 the New York Yankees and Tiny Bonham end the Boston Red Sox 15 game winning streak with a 2-0 victory in Yankee Stadium. Before the loss Boston was 21-3 to start the 1946 season and would easily win the American League pennant that season.