Thursday, June 1, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 6/1

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays are set to begin their four-game weekend set tonight inside the Rogers Centre as our neighbors to the north, Canada, welcome America's team. To kick off the four game series the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound while the Blue Jays will counter with Marco Estrada. The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre 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.

Remembering Derek Jeter on the Day he was Drafted

As we learned this morning in our “This Day in Yankees History” post that we showcase daily here on the blog it was this day back in 1992 that the New York Yankees made a decision that would forever form and shape this organization for the better. *in my best Bud Selig voice* It was on this day in 1992 that the New York Yankees, with the 6th pick in the MLB Draft, selected Derek Jeter out of Kalamazoo Central High School in Detroit, Michigan.

"Derek Jeter is not going to college, he’s going to Cooperstown." Boy was he right.

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

"What you talkin' bout Austin?"

Another week in the books for the 2017 Major League Baseball season and teams are still jockeying for position in their respective divisions. The New York Yankees are still at the top of the American League East Division but they may have plateaued a bit, which by the way is not a bad thing because the postseason is a second season and their plateau is still pretty damn good, which is reflected in these standings. In fact the American League East was all over these rankings this week so let’s dive right into them.

First and foremost the reason you are all here is for the Yankees. New York dropped two slots this week from their #3 overall position to the 5th position. Top 5 is still “a-okay” with me. Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox were the biggest risers this week rising six spots to the #7 position while the Baltimore Orioles were the biggest fall of the week dropping five spots to the #10 position. Three AL East teams in the Top 10 though, and remember when everyone was saying how weak the division was before the season started?

The Houston Astros still occupy the top spot followed in order by the Washington Nationals, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies with obviously the Yankees coming in fifth on the rankings. The five teams nobody wants to be in the league right now are the #26 ranked Kansas City Royals followed by the Atlanta Braves, the Miami Marlins, the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres.

The Yankees could drop to 10th for all I care, just stay on top of the division and keep playing well. The trading deadline is coming and so are the playoffs, I’ll worry about it more when those dates draw closer. Not today. Enjoy the rest of your day everyone. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 6/1

Welcome to June baseball Yankees family and welcome to our neighbors from north of the border as the country of Canada, the Rogers Centre and the Toronto Blue Jays welcome the New York Yankees to town for a four-game set. Get your Mountie hats, ride your moose and let's get ready to kick some ass, eh?

Sabathia has had a crazy progression this season with the Yankees. Sabathia has gone from one of the Yankees best pitchers to one of the worst. One of the most reliable to on the cusp of being designated for assignment, pure speculation, or being moved to the bullpen to now secretly wishing, probably not true and is pure sarcasm, that Jordan Montgomery continues to struggle so it saves his roster spot. Which CC will we see tonight? Who freakin' knows?

Estrada is putting together a strong season for a struggling Blue Jays in 2017. Estrada has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his last 11 starts this season and is striking out more batters than ever. This is going to be a tough matchup for the Yankees tonight, especially in Toronto.

The game will be played at 7:07pm ET inside the Rogers Centre, eh, and can be seen on the YESNetwork, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars by tuning into the John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman broadcast, Mr. and Mrs. Baseball, on WFAN.

Enjoy the game and as always….. Go Yankees!!

Is the awful Tanaka the new Tanaka?…

Credit:  Randy Miller/NJ Advance Media for
Orioles 10, Yankees 4…

Disappointing, to say the least…

Masahiro Tanaka, proving that his last start was just a facade, got hammered again as the Orioles cruised to victory.  In 5 2/3 painful innings, Tanaka (5-5) was pounded for nine hits and seven runs.  The latest implosion pushed his ERA up to 6.34 for the season.  

The Yankees had their opportunities to get back into the game but couldn’t deliver.  The Yankees bullpen, most notably Giovanny Gallegos who had been called up earlier in the day to replace Bryan Mitchell, let the Orioles break the game open.  Gallegos allowed a two-run homer to Chris Davis in the seventh inning and three runs overall in his 1 2/3 innings.

For the Orioles, Adam Jones was the offensive force of the night.  After missing multiple games due to a sore ankle and hip, Jones was back in the lineup on Wednesday night.  Apparently he felt that he had to make up for lost time as he was 3-for-5 with 5 RBI’s.  His crushing hit was a three-run homer off Tanaka in the fourth inning.  

Credit:  Randy Miller/NJ Advance Media for
To the Yankees credit, they completely shut down Manny Machado in the series.  He was 0-for-5 and struck out twice.  In the three games played, Machado was hitless in 15 at-bats which dropped his batting average to .205.  It’s unfortunate that the Yankees couldn’t hold the other Orioles sluggers in check as they lost the three game series, two games to one.  

I guess on the bright side, the Yankees had no need to use their top bullpen arms so Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren will be fresh for the latest series in Toronto.  

Every Yankees starter got at least one hit except for Chase Headley, who was hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts although he did walk twice.  Rob Refsnyder, manning first base for the second game in a row, picked up two hits in his four plate appearances.  The hits were Refsnyder’s first of the season.   

It is very hard to find any positives with this game.  I am not sure what can be done to fix Tanaka.  It’s up to him to make the necessary adjustments but for whatever reason, his adjustments so far have been futile.  

Things do not get any easier for the Yankees as they now travel to Toronto to face a suddenly red-hot Blue Jays squad (8-2 in their last ten games).  

The Yankees (30-20) lost ground in the AL East as the Boston Red Sox pulled within two games with their 4-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.  The Orioles moved up to 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  Last-placed Toronto is only 5 1/2 games back so they have an opportunity to make some noise over the next few days.  

Yankees in the News…

Future Yankees outfielder Bryce Harper (hey, if everyone else can talk about it, so can I!) received good news on Wednesday.  His four-game suspension for this week’s fight with Hunter Strickland and the San Francisco Giants has been reduced to three games.  The suspension should not impact Harper’s availability to open the 2019 season for the Yankees.  

Greg Bird is getting ready to fly.  After playing in three simulated innings on Wednesday, he’ll begin a rehab assignment with High-A Tampa today.  I am really hoping to see the bat that wore out pitchers in Spring Training and not the Mark Teixeira Annual April-Ice-Cold bat we saw after his ankle injury.  

Tyler Austin didn’t do much for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders yesterday in their 4-3 victory over the Columbus Clippers in the second game of a doubleheader.  He was penciled in at DH (did not play in the first game).  He went hitless in four at-bats, striking out three times, in his best impersonation of Chris Carter.  I guess to be Chris Carter and take his job, you have to become Chris Carter.  Still, Austin is a better first baseman than either Carter or Rob Refsnyder.  So, once that bat starts humming, it will be Bronx-bound.  

As for the first game of the RailRiders doubleheader, WHOA!  Chance Adams was spectacular.  He threw a one-hitter over six scoreless innings of work.  He struck out twelve batters while walking only two.  He is now 3-1 at the AAA Level with a 1.57 ERA.  The RailRiders won the game, 6-0.  Adams has the accelerator mashed to the floor in his drive for the Bronx.  At some point, somebody is going to have to make room in the rotation.  

Yesterday, Bryan Van Dusen wrote about the June 1st opt-clause for Ernesto Frieri, currently at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Let him go.  I see no compelling reasons to create room on the 40-man roster for Frieri.  He has been the RailRiders’ closer, picking up his seventh save in yesterday’s second game of the double-header.  He was touched for two runs in the bottom of the seventh as the Clippers tried an unsuccessful rally against the RailRiders.  He walked a batter in his one inning of work and one of the two hits he allowed was a homer.  Frieri hasn’t been relevant in years and he is not going to be relevant in 2017.  Pass.

Life North of the Border…

The Yankees begin a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays this evening.  Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

Yankees:  CC Sabathia (5-2, 4.42 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Marco Estrada (4-2, 3.15 ERA)

Yankees:  Michael Pineda (6-2, 3.32 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Francisco Liriano (2-2, 6.35 ERA)

Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (2-4, 4.11 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Joe Biagini (1-3, 3.64 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Severino (4-2, 2.93 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.28 ERA)

This puts Masahiro Tanaka on track to open the three-game series against the Boston Red Sox next Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.  Things do not get any easier…

Have a great Thursday!  Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.  Don't quit.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Will Tyler Austin Unseat Chris Carter on Yankees Roster?

The New York Yankees had high hopes for the first base position this year and those high hopes and about $15 could get you a beer at Yankee Stadium right now. The Yankees first baseman have been, in a word that’s not really a word, terrible. Greg Bird was hitting exactly .100 before he went on the disabled list and Chris Carter has been a shell of his former self after leading the National League in home runs in 2016 while with the Milwaukee Brewers. With the recent promotion to Triple-A for a rehabbing Tyler Austin could the Yankees have a decision to make on their hands in the very near future? Could the Yankees actually cut and designate Carter for assignment while bringing Austin back to the Major Leagues to play first and the outfield? In another word that is actually a word, yes. Will they? That cannot be answered in a word so keep reading.

Austin adds a versatility and some flexibility that the Yankees bench not only lacks, but needs. Carter is a first baseman or DH only on a team who already has at least two players just like him in Bird and Matt Holliday. The fact that Austin has played third base during his professional career as well as the corner outfield makes so much more sense for him to be sitting on the bench a few days a week, even when Bird returns off the disabled list, than having Carter sitting on the bench. The money is a non-issue to me because in the land of guaranteed contracts the money is spent regardless. I’m not bothering myself with trying to get under the luxury tax, I’m trying to compete and I’m trying to win.

Carter was brought in to be the right-handed compliment, not platoon partner, for Bird and I have news for you. Not only is Austin right-handed but Austin has right-handed pop to all fields, especially inside Yankee Stadium. It just makes sense to me. Bringing up Austin not only continues the youth movement but it makes the team more flexible, more versatile and truth be told it makes the team flat out better. Austin won’t hit .300 at the Major League level but I don’t think he will strike out 200 times a season without taking his walks either. He is a patient hitter and he sprays the ball everywhere. Austin, unlike Carter, is not one-dimensional and would make manager Joe Girardi’s job just that much easier as the team has run just three extra positional players for much of the season.

So when Austin gets back and ready will the Yankees designate Carter for assignment? I don’t know. Should they? Absolutely!

So it Seems The Hiatus is OVER!

Well here we are with another day starting off on the blog with me apologizing. I’m sorry. Last week I spoke about work getting busy and life getting busy and boy did it ever. Things are not settling down, if anything they are getting worse, but I am pushing through. I just keep telling myself that I will face defeat many times but I will not be defeated. We are an unstoppable force, even if we get a little off course sometimes.

I’m still alive, I am here and I am still fighting. Are you?

This Day In New York Yankees History 6/1: Yankees Draft a Man Named Jeter

On this day in 1992 the San Diego Padres used the first pick in the MLB First Year Players Draft to take Phil Nevin over Derek Jeter. Jeter would fall to sixth overall to the New York Yankees because he was seeking a bonus of at least $1 million to skip college at the University of Michigan. Nevin had a pretty nice career but Jeter is a future Hall of Fame player, and the rest is history.

Also on this day in 1941 Johnny Sturm hits his first major league home run in the eight inning in front of the largest crowd in the American League at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. The home run gives the Yankees a 2-1 lead and would begin a streak in which one or more Yankees will hit a home run in 24 consecutive games, a record that will stand for 53 years.

Finally on this day in 1925 Lou Gehrig began his Iron Man streak of playing in 2,130 straight games when he came off the Yankees bench to pinch hit for rookie infielder Pee-Wee Wanninger. Wanninger is no stranger to consecutive games played streaks as he was the player who ended Everett Scott's 1,307 consecutive games played streak when he started for Scott on May 5 at shortstop.