Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals 5/17

And just like that it is game time once again inside Kauffman Stadium as the New York Yankees travel to face off against the Kansas City Royals in the second of a three-game set. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to square off against Jason Vargas for the Royals. The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Kauffman Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars with WFAN.

Give us a follow on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a follow. Enjoy the game and as always, Go Yankees!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

Well that week just sucked, didn’t it? Another week down of the 2017 Major League Baseball season and things did not exactly go as planned for the New York Yankees. It is a long season and these bumps in the road will happen, we all know that and so does the USA Today apparently, so I’m not exactly worried. Just keep grinding, get back to winning and keep your place at the top of the power rankings. EZ PZ.

The Yankees remained at the #3 slot despite falling in three of the four games against the new top team in all the land, the Houston Astros. The Washington Nationals are sandwiched between the Yankees and Astros at the second position while the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers round out the Top 5. Who saw the Colorado Rockies being sixth right now? I mean I spoke pretty highly of them in my preseason predictions post and even expected them to compete and potentially make the postseason but I mean, besides me? Not many I’m sure.

The Texas Rangers had the biggest rise of the week climbing six spots back to the 16th position on the rankings while the biggest fall went to the uber-talented Chicago Cubs who fell four spots to the #9 position. What’s going on with the Cubs right now? I don’t know but somebody better figure it out sooner rather than later. I need that Cubs and Yankees World Series in my life right now.

To round out the American League East the Boston Red Sox are 10th overall, the Tampa Bay Rays are 17th and the Toronto Blue Jays are quietly putting the train back on the rails at the #21 position.

Surprises? The Milwaukee Brewers are 12th, the Arizona Diamondbacks are 11th and the Minnesota Twins are 13th. For every good surprise there has to be an equal and opposite bad surprise or something like that so that can explain why the San Francisco Giants are 26th, the Kansas City Royals are 24th and the Pittsburgh Pirates are 23rd.

Sample sizes ladies and gentleman. These are becoming more and more like true sample sizes the closer we get to June and it looks like the Yankees are for real. The problem is it looks like the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles are too. Stay tuned and have a great day. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals 5/17

The New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals are back at it again tonight with the second game of their three-game set this week. Both teams need victories desperately right now, although the Royals situation seems to be a bit direr than the Yankees position admittedly, as the thermometer rises and these games start getting more and more intense. Or as my son would say despite me correcting him a million and one times, “intenser.” The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound tonight looking to grab another victory for New York while the Royals will counter with Jason Vargas.

Pineda has been easily the Yankees best pitcher this season which comes just at the right time. With Pineda set to hit the free agency market after this season he has to put to bed the thought process that he has all the stuff to make him an ace but has yet to put it all together. He can take another step towards that tonight inside Kauffman Stadium. 

Vargas pitched well in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays and will look to continue pitching well tonight against the Yankees. In his last start Vargas hurled seven shutout innings while giving up just three hits and striking out four in a Kansas City victory.

The game will be played at 8:15 pm ET inside Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.  You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman’s broadcast on WFAN. Enjoy the game everybody and as always, Go Yankees!

Sabathia and his 20th Career Victory against the Royals…

Credit:  Brian Davidson/Getty Images
After giving up 22 runs in his previous four starts, CC Sabathia had his best game since his season opening start.  He pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball to help the Yankees defeat the Kansas City Royals, 7-1.  He only gave up five hits and two walks while striking out four.  The effort dropped his season ERA from 5.77 to 4.93.  He did get into a little trouble in the seventh inning when the Royals loaded the bases with two outs.  Joe Girardi pulled Sabathia, and Tyler Clippard was able to get the last out by swinging strikeout to preserve the scoreless outing for Sabathia.  

This is one of those games where everyone who played contributed in some way with a run, hit, or RBI.  The biggest hit was clearly the three-run homer by Gary Sanchez in the third inning.  It set the tone early and the Yankees were in control throughout.  Chris Carter finally did the one thing he is paid to do with a two-run dinger in the fourth, his second of the year.  Carter was 3-for-4 on the night, making it easily his best game as a Yankee.  Chase Headley deserves kudos for his amazing catch of the first pitch hit to start the game.  

Credit:  John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS
The Royals scored their only run in the ninth inning against Jonathan Holder on a fielder’s choice force-out with the bases loaded.  Things could have gotten hairy from there, but Holder got Alcides Escobar to pop up to Didi Gregorius to end the threat and the game.  

I have to say that the outing by Sabathia was bittersweet.  It buys the left-hander more time in the rotation, potentially setting us up for disappointment when we need him the most.  It’s one of those things that I hope I am wrong and CC shows he is capable of putting up more quality starts than not.  But one must recognize this wasn’t the Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles or Boston Red Sox facing Sabathia.  The Royals are the worst hitting team in the American League at .226/.289/.355.  

For his career, Sabathia is 20-11 against the Royals in 38 starts, with a 3.11 ERA.  I am glad that he likes to pitch in Kansas City, where he is 13-5.  Now, I am hoping that Michael Pineda and Jordan Montgomery enjoy Kauffman Stadium as much as Sabathia has.  

The Yankees (23-13) remain a half-game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.  The Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night in slugfest, 13-11.  It took two homers by Chris Davis in extra innings for the O’s to win.  Former Yankee Justin Wilson blew a save opportunity for the Tigers in the ninth, while former Yankee Richard Bleier took the win for the O’s.  Sadly, the Boston Red Sox also won, defeating the St Louis Cardinals, 6-3.  The Sox are four games back.

I was surprised to see the Arizona Diamondbacks have released former Orioles lefty Brian Matusz.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago he was a highly touted pitcher for the O’s but struggled as a starter.  He eventually found some success in the pen.  I always liked him and wanted to see him fulfill his promise (albeit not against the Yankees) but it was not meant to be.  Matusz is only 30 but I don’t see anything in his numbers to warrant consideration as a reclamation project.  It’s sad to see.  I am sure that someone will take a flyer but I don’t think the Yankees should.

Speaking of former Yankees, Robinson Cano has been placed on the disabled list for the first time since 2006 when he was still with the Yankees.  He injured his right quadriceps last week and had been expected to return yesterday.  The Seattle Mariners opted to place Cano on the 10-Day DL retroactive to May 13th.  While Cano had a great season in 2016 and was off to a good start in 2017, he is 34 and the risk of injury continues to increase.  Proof the Yankees were smart not to pay Cano $240 million for ten years (as much as I would have liked to have seen the player wear pinstripes throughout his career with an eventual Robinson Cano Day that he’ll never see at Yankee Stadium).  I do wish Cano a quick return to good health and that he is able to return to the Mariners lineup on May 23rd. 

Congratulations to Mike Ford.  The first base prospect was recently promoted from the AA Trenton Thunder to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and he had a big game yesterday to help defeat the Pawtucket Red Sox, 7-2.  Ford was 2-for-3 with a two run shot off Henry Owens, a pitcher the Yankees are familiar with at the big league level.  Tyler Webb took the win in relief of Bryan Mitchell with 3 1/3 innings of scoreless work and six K’s.  Webb, returned to the Yankees this spring after being taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft, should get a shot in the Yankees bullpen sometime this year if a spot on the 40-man roster opens up.  

Meanwhile in AA, Gleyber Torres hit a tie-breaking game-winning two run homer in the eighth inning yesterday as the Thunder beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 4-2.  Just another day at the office for the supremely talented infielder.  

Have a great Wednesday!  I hope it’s another royally wonderful day for Yankees fans!

Don’t Look Now but Tyler Austin is Close

Don’t look now Yankees family but the problem to New York’s first base problems may be sitting in Triple-A as we speak. His name is Tyler Austin and while he has been out since spring training with a fractured foot he may be close to returning.

As I sat watching Derek Jeter Day while scouring Twitter I saw Austin post that he faced live batting practice and pitching for the first time since his foot injury. It is expected, and admittedly speculated as this did not come from the Yankees organization or manager Joe Girardi, that Austin could start a rehab assignment as early as this coming weekend. Now Austin would likely remain on that rehab stint for quite a while, two weeks or even longer after missing all of spring training, but with Greg Bird’s ankle injury showing no signs of improvement the Yankees may be willing to be patient and merely wait on Austin to return.

Chris Carter has been horrible to start the season after leading the National League in home runs in 2016 while the Yankees would like to limit the amount of exposure that Matt Holliday gets at the position going forward. Austin may be the Yankees saving grace this season, who would have thought we would be saying that in May before the season? Not I said Sam.

The problem the Yankees will face may be the potential roster spot. Sure, Austin can play first base and the outfield and he has played third base during his minor league tenure with the Yankees but having another first baseman may be a bit redundant. Would the Yankees designate Carter for assignment and/or trade him? Will they be forced to stick it out with Carter and hope that his power returns and his almost 50% strikeout ratio goes down?

I don’t have all the answers so I guess you will just have to stay tuned. Either way though it seems like Austin is close and Austin is coming. Welcome back in advance.

So it Seems the Storm Has Passed

To get to the sunshine you have to go through a little rain.

Sometimes recognizing the storm allows it to pass.

The hardest moments are a calling to something greater.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

We may encounter many defeats but we will not be defeated Kari Ann Burch.

I love you. Hey you. Good morning. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 5/17: David Wells Perfect Game

On this day in 2002 Jason Giambi finally earned a stripe and became a "true Yankee." The Twins would score three times in the top of the 14th inning at Yankee Stadium and would take a 13-10 lead. Jason Giambi would hit a one out grand slam the next half of the inning off reliever Mike Trombley to give the Yankees the victory. In Giambi's first year after replacing the very popular Tino Martinez this helped the fans warm up to the slugger.

On this day in 1998 almost 50,000 fans flocked to Yankee Stadium for Beanie Baby Day at Yankee Stadium and got to witness a piece of history. David Wells retires all 27 batters he faced, and rumor has it still drunk from the night before, while beating the Minnesota Twins 4-0. This was only the 13th perfect game in modern day major league history.

On this day in 1961 Roger Maris hits the first home run of his season at Yankee Stadium en route to his record breaking 61 home runs. This is Maris' fourth home run of the season but the Senators still win the game 8-7.