Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6/14

Here we go one last time Yankees family as the New York Yankees travel to California to take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Disney World of Disney Land (because who can remember which is which, am I right?) of Orange County of not San Francisco of Major League Baseball of Elm Street. In the finale of their three-game set this week the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to square off with Matt Shoemaker. The game will be played at 10:07 pm ET inside Angel Stadium of Anaheim and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and as always enjoy the game. Go Yankees!!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

Look out baseball world because the New York Yankees are coming! The USA Today has released their weekly MLB Power Rankings and the New York Yankees are slugging their way all the way to the top. Again, watch out because they are coming. Just how high did the Bronx Bombers and this modern day Murderer’s Row climb? Keep reading.

I won’t be mean and leave you in suspense for long, the Yankees climbed all the way to the second position on the rankings trailing only those pesky Houston Astros. The Astros remained in the top spot while the rest of the Top 5 was rounded out with the Colorado Rockies who also climbed two spots to the third position, the Washington Nationals who fell two spots to fourth and the Los Angeles Dodgers who also fell two spots to fifth.

The Yankees have 28 more teams behind them in these rankings and four teams chasing them in the American League East Division race and those teams show up on this ranking list as follows. The Boston Red Sox are hanging around at the #6 position while the Baltimore Orioles fell three spots to the #12 position overall. Getting hammered by the Yankees has a way of doing that to a team I guess. Meanwhile the Tampa Bay Rays are right behind the Orioles at lucky #13 after climbing one spot this week while the Toronto Blue Jays are still quietly hovering around the .500 mark and the 14th spot on the rankings.

The Minnesota Twins are 9th, the Milwaukee Brewers are 10th, the Chicago Cubs are 11th and the Miami Marlins are 27th? What year is this again? There’s a few more surprises thrown in there too including the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals but wow. What a season and it’s only June. Stay tuned as these rankings continue to form and take shape only to be flipped on their heads again by the July 31st trading deadline. 

Meet a Prospect: Matt Sauer

With the New York Yankees second round pick, 54th overall, in the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft the team took right-handed pitcher Matt Sauer. Sauer was drafted out of Ernest Righetti High School in Arizona, the same school that former Yankees and Mets player Robin Ventura attended, which explains why the Yankees drafted Clarke Schmidt. All that slot money is going to Sauer. Sauer is the stereotypical pitcher that the Yankees have seemingly fallen in love with over the years, either that or they are preparing for when MLB becomes a full contact sport like the NFL, standing at 6’4” and 200 lbs. with plenty of time and room to grow. Let’s meet the latest pitcher for the Yankees that could also play center or power forward for the New York Knicks in his off-time. This is Meet a Prospect: The Matt Sauer Edition.

Sauer is a right-handed pitcher and considered to be a gifted athlete as he has also spent time playing shortstop, second base and first base. As the Righetti Warriors’ top hitter Sauer finished his amateur career with a .427 average this season to go along with his 0.98 ERA, four complete games and two shutouts. Sauer struck out 142 batters in 2017 in just 78.1 innings while walking just 31. Sauer just started focusing solely on baseball as a senior so he has plenty of room to grow developmentally, which should be scary for opposing teams. 

Sauer has a fastball that sits around 95 MPH with a sharp slider and a changeup that he uses to keep batters off-balanced. Sauer doesn’t throw his changeup often though so the Yankees will likely and presumably ask him to work on that or scrap it entirely for a new third pitch, that’s just my speculation though based off what we all saw with Luis Severino last season.

Santa Maria News has reported that the Yankees offered Sauer $2.5 million, which is more than double the slot recommendation for the 54th overall pick at $1.23 million, to start his professional career. How they got that information I am not entirely sure but if it’s accurate then they totally deserve the credit. See Joel, how hard is giving credit where credit is due?

Sauer was committed to the University of Arizona but after his drafting he said he would “likely” sign with the Yankees so stay tuned for that. This may be a bit premature but I feel comfortable in welcoming Matt not only to the team and the organization but to the family as well. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6/14

The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will finish off their three-game set tonight inside Angels Stadium of Anaheim with the Yankees looking to keep the good times rolling. This team is absolutely crushing the ball right now and have the pitching to boot which could be very scary going forward for the rest of the American League. Sure, the team has holes and flaws including starting pitching, first base and third base but they have the youth to overcome that either with promotions or trades. One step at a time though, finishing this series would be nice before we start printing playoff and World Series tickets, so let’s get to tonight’s contest that will showcase Michael Pineda for the Yankees taking on Matt Shoemaker for the Angels.

Pineda was brilliant in his last start holding the Red Sox to just one unearned run and four hits in seven innings of work. Pineda had eight strikeouts in that start which gave Pineda his sixth quality start in his last seven outings. Let’s make that an even seven out of eight tonight.

Shoemaker on the other and was not so sharp in his last start against the high-powered Houston Astros allowing four runs on seven hits in seven innings of work. Shoemaker hasn’t had great outing against the Yankees either in just two career starts pitching to a 0-2 record with a 4.05 ERA.

The game will be played at 10:07 pm ET inside Angel Stadium and Anaheim and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with Mr. and Mrs. Baseball, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and as always…. Go Yankees!

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda...

Credit:  Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports
Angels 3, Yankees 2...

After a weekend when runs came so easily, they were hard to find on Tuesday night as the Angels took down the Yankees in extra innings.  The loss snapped the Yankees' six-game winning streak.  However, the bigger loss may have been CC Sabathia who strained his left hamstring and is probably headed for a DL stint.  CC will undergo a MRI later today.

Credit:  Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports
The feast or famine (with the emphasis on the latter) that surrounds Chris Carter was a primary ingredient for the loss.  Carter was 1-for-5 (with a meaningless single), and he popped out with the bases loaded and only one out in the top of the 11th inning.  He struck out 3 times, and committed an error at first in the fourth inning when he missed an accurate routine throw with two outs from Didi Gregorius, setting the stage for the first Angels' run.  The runner, Andrelton Simmons, advanced to second on the play, and scored on a single by C.J. Cron.  

The Yankees tied the score in the 5th when Chase Headley doubled and Brett Gardner delivered a two-out run-scoring single. In the 7th, Headley hit a solo shot to center to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.  Headley, arguably the worst Yankees hitter not named Chris Carter, was the night's best hitter.  He finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.

From there, the Yankees were undone by a former Yankee, Eric Young, Jr.  In the bottom of the 8th, with the Yankees nursing the one-run lead, the Yankees brought in Tyler Clippard to pitch and he was greeted by a Young home run which tied the game.  As great a job as Clippard did last year after his acquisition last year at the trading deadline from the Arizona Diamondbacks, he's been a weak link this year in the critical setup role.  A healthy Aroldis Chapman would have meant Dellin Betances in that situation and the outcome may have been different.  The homer denied the first Major League victory for Giovanny Gallegos who had relieved Sabathia in the fifth and pitched admirably for two innings, allowing only one hit and no runs.

The Yankees loaded the bases with one-out in the top of the 11th.  Gary Sanchez walked and then advanced to third on a double by Didi Gregorius.  Headley received an intentional walk, which brought Carter to the plate with a chance to bring runners home.  He jumped on the first pitch from new reliever Keynan Middleton, who had just entered the game, but unfortunately, he popped out with an infield fly to third.  Brett Gardner followed with another pop out which ended the Yankees' threat and set the stage for the Angels' walk-off in the bottom of the frame.

With Chasen Shreve pitching, Andrelton Simmons walked to open the bottom of the inning.  Shreve got the next batter, C.J. Cron, on a fly out to left, but then Manager Joe Girardi pulled Shreve (he had thrown 38 pitches to that point in his 1 2/3 innings of work) to replace him with Ben Heller.  Heller got the first batter he faced (Martin Maldonado) on a ground out, but Simmons stole second during the at-bat and advanced to third with the out.  Eric Young, Jr, came to bat after Heller had walked Cliff Pennington and he hit an infield single that was deflected off the pitcher's backside, scoring Simmons with the winning run.

Credit:  Sean M Haffey/Getty Images
'Woulda, coulda, shoulda' was the story to this game.  Losing is never fun, but losing games that should have been won are harder. 

No word who will replace Sabathia in the rotation.  Chad Green, Sunday's starter, was limited to a pitch count of 50 (he was pulled after throwing 53 pitches).  I wouldn't be surprised to see either Luis Cessa or Bryan Mitchell recalled to be the interim starter.  The less likely options would be Caleb Smith (who was the winning pitcher yesterday for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and is currently 4-0 with 2.71 ERA) or Chance Adams (3-2, 2.52 ERA) since neither one is on the 40-man roster.

The Boston Red Sox picked up a game on the Yankees, thanks to their second consecutive extra inning win over the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Red Sox now trail the Yankees (38-24) by three games.  The Tampa Bay Rays also won so they are 5.5 games behind.  Both the Orioles and the Blue Jays lost.  

Odds & Ends...

The MLB Draft completed Rounds 3 through 10 on Tuesday.  Like the day before, the emphasis was high on right-handed pitchers.  Only one position player was taken.  High School catcher (who will be converted to the outfield) Canaan Smith (not to be confused with the country singer by the same name).  Smith, a graduate of Rockwall-Heath (Texas) High School, was routinely pitched around with a Barry Bonds-like walk rate.  He was selected in the 4th round.  

The lone lefty taken was Dalton Lehnen of Augustana College in the 6th round.  Otherwise, Day 2 was stacked with righties.

Here is the list of players taken on Day 2:

Round 3 (92):  Trevor Stephan, Arkansas, RHP
Round 4 (122):  Canaan Smith, Rockwall-Heath HS, RF
Round 5 (152):  Glenn Otto, Rice, RHP
Round 6 (182):  Dalton Lehnen, Augustana College, LHP
Round 7 (212):  Dalton Higgins, Dallas Baptist, RHP
Round 8 (242):  Kyle Zurak, Redford U, RHP
Round 9 (272):  Austin Gardner, U Texas-Arlington, RHP
Round 10 (302):  Chad Whitmer, Southern Illinois U Carbondale, RHP

The Baltimore Orioles are gushing about the fall of D.L. Hall to them.  They didn't expect him to be the board with the 21st pick on Monday.  Nothing against Clarke Schmidt, but I hope this choice doesn't come back to haunt the Yankees in future years.

Day 3 concludes today with Rounds 11 through 40.  Start time is 12:00 pm Eastern.  

LHP Tommy Layne, who was previously designated for assignment, has been outrighted to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  

RHP Ronald Herrera has been named the Eastern League (AA) Pitcher of the Week.  In his last start, Herrera pitched 6 2/3 innings while only allowing two hits in the Trenton Thunder's 9-0 victory over the Hartford Yard Goats.  After giving up a two-out single in the first inning, Herrera retired 16 consecutive Yard Goats before surrendering the second hit.  He struck out 9 in picking up the win.  Herrera is the fourth Thunder pitcher to win the weekly award this year, following Chance Adams, Yefry Ramirez, and Justus Sheffield. 

Aroldis Chapman was scheduled to pitch yesterday for High-A Tampa, however, the game was rained out.  Chapman will pitch one inning Friday for AA-Trenton and is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the Yankees on Sunday in Oakland.  

Have a great Wednesday!  Time to start a new winning streak!

Meet a Prospect: Clarke Schmidt

In my best Rob Manfred voice I am happy to inform you that with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft the New York Yankees have selected pitcher Clarke Schmidt out of the University of South Carolina. Yeah, I’m sure everyone had the same reaction that I did when that was announced. “What?” Less than two months ago Schmidt suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that will require Tommy John surgery. This didn’t work out too well for the Yankees the last time they tried this but that is another rant for another post on another day. Let’s meet the Yankees first round pick. This is Meet a Prospect: The Clarke Schmidt Edition.

Schmidt was a Junior at the University of South Carolina at the time of his drafting and will likely forego his senior season, I mean after Tommy John surgery why would he not, to begin his professional career with the Yankees. The slot recommendation for the 16th overall selection is $3,458,600 but I would be surprised if Schmidt even got $2 million in my opinion, I’d put it closer to $1.5 million but this is pure speculation on my part. Tommy John surgeries may be common these days but they are far from guaranteed. Ask Andrew Brackman.

Schmidt finished the 2017 season with a 4-2 record and a 1.34 ERA in just nine starts which led the SEC in ERA before his injury. As a sophomore Schmidt finished with a 9-5 record and a 3.40 ERA in 18 appearances, 17 of them being as a starter, earning him third-team All-American. It seems as though Schmidt got better and refined something every single season as an amateur and would have been drafted higher if not for the injury.

The Yankees took a huge chance in drafting Schmidt knowing that he needed Tommy John surgery but that surgery will keep the price tag for the junior way down. It also lessens any chance that Schmidt will return to school for his senior season as he will not be able to pitch allowing the Yankees to take their time with him down on the farm. Freeing up the money here will also allow the team to sign Matt Sauer which is truly a win-win situation for New York. And none of this is to downplay the talent that Schmidt possesses, he has a hell of an arm and a work ethic to boot, but that more or less explains the Yankees decision making thought process here.

Regardless, Schmidt has been drafted and Schmidt is coming to the Yankees. Welcome to the family Clarke. 

So it Seems These Yankees Are For Real?

Now I know I have been saying it since the 2017 season even started but what about you? Is the sample size large enough yet? Has enough time gone by yet? Has the Yankees terrorized enough starting pitching yet? Has their own pitching held their own and excelled enough yet to call this team for real yet? Or do we still have the skeptics and the doubters?

First you hear that the Yankees are doing it against teams they are supposed to do it against, the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays immediately come to mind. What do you say when they do it against the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles though? What’s your excuse now?

Admit it. This team is for real, this team is legit and this team will stick around all season long. Admit it. Especially you. Hey you, good morning. I love you. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 6/14: 1998 Yankees Win

On this day in 1998 the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 4-2 to tie a major league record by winning or splitting their 24th consecutive series this season. The Yankees equaled the record shared by the 1912 Red Sox and the 1970 Reds.

Also on this day in 1969 the Yankees traded Tom Tresh to the Detroit Tigers for the 1962 Rookie of the Year Ron Woods. The outfielder, who grew up in Detroit, would retire at the end of the 1969 season.

Finally on this day in 1933 both the Yankees manager Joe McCarthy and their first basemen Lou Gehrig were thrown out of a game. McCarthy was suspended for three games while Gehrig was not keeping his consecutive games streak at 1,249 straight games.