Friday, June 23, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers 6/23

Ladies and gentleman it is game time between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers as these two clubs start a three-game weekend set in the Bronx. In the opener the Bronx Bombers will rely on the arm of Masahiro Tanaka to lead them to a series opening victory while the Rangers will counter with their ace Yu Darvish. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

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

Yankees Affiliate Mocks Tim Tebow, Then Apologizes

The Charleston Riverdogs, a minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees, got into a bit of unintended hot water recently when the team “mocked” Tim Tebow before a game. The Riverdogs mascot had “John 3:16” written in eye black under his eyes, something that Tebow had under his eyes before every game while at Florida State, in a photo that was captioned “I’ve caught Tebow fever.” Apparently some fans and people didn’t take too well to this impersonation and the affiliate issued an apology.

The Riverdogs state that they were merely poking fun at Tebow’s fame, not his religion like some thought, when the mascot “Tebowed” getting down on one knee and issued the following statement:

“Our intent was not to offend anyone and for the fact that we did offend, we are sorry.” Dave Echols said, the team’s general manager.

I am sorry, and maybe I am being a bit insensitive here, but if Tebow were not so open about his religion I don’t think this would be that big of a deal. Not to downplay harassment or anything like that but there is a fine line between malicious intent and playful banter. Minor League Baseball is full of playful banter and I truly don’t think, and maybe I’m bias, there was any malcontent intended here. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. Leave your thoughts below in the comments section?

Quick Hit: Two More First Base Options Enter the Fold

The Greedy Pinstripes have been talking about the July 31st trade deadline for close to a whole month now and as new potential trade candidates enter the fold we will constantly keep you up to date. We are doing just that this afternoon as two more potential first basemen are entering the field of play and both may interest the Yankees as they look to replace the injured Greg Bird and the struggling Chris Carter. Let’s take a look at both Lucas Duda of the New York Mets and Yonder Alonso of the Oakland Athletics.

Duda is 31-years old and at the time of this writing hitting .239 with 12 home runs and 26 RBI through his first 49 games. Duda is a free agent at the end of the season and is making a salary that is modest enough to be designated for assignment if and when Bird is deemed healthy and ready to take over first base duties again. Duda is a left-handed hitter with pop, insert the traditional “his swing is made for the short porch inside Yankee Stadium” line here, although his defense is nothing to write home to mom about. The Mets and Yankees don’t matchup for trades often, the last significant one was probably back in 2004 when the Yankees and Mets swapped relievers Mike Stanton and Felix Heredia, but I guess it could happen.

Alonso on the other hand is just 30-years old and is also a free agent at the end of this season. Alonso is having a huge season for the Athletics posting a .299 average with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in his first 62 games this season which puts him on pace to have a monster 30+ home run season. All this while playing his home games in the spacious Oakland Coliseum, could you imagine him inside Yankee Stadium with Aaron Judge protecting him? Oh my, oh my indeed. For all these reasons Alonso would be attractive to the Yankees and for all these reasons he would be attractive to every other team who needs a first baseman as well likely making him very, very expensive.

So what are your thoughts? Stay within the organization with Tyler Austin? Stick with Chris Carter? Trade for Eric Hosmer? Trade for one of these two? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section of the site. Thank you. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers 6/23

Ask anyone in the Yankees clubhouse and if they don’t give you the politically correct answer I bet they would say they are happy to no longer see the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. What a pesky little crew those guys have been over the past two weeks, kudos to them. Tonight begins another series with another team though as the New York Yankees welcome the Texas Rangers to town for a three-game weekend set in the Bronx. In the opener the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to square off with the Rangers ace Yu Darvish. This should be fun and potentially extremely frustrating for obvious reasons, but mostly fun I hope.

Tanaka will face countryman Yu Darvish for the first time in his career tonight which should be fun for everyone here in the states and in Japan as well. In Tanaka’s last start the Yankees ace took the loss against Oakland after allowing five runs on three home runs in just four innings of work. In Tanaka’s last five starts the righty is sporting a 5.97 ERA. In the now immortal words of Yankees manager Joe Girardi “that’s not what you want.”

Darvish hasn’t been spectacular either in his last five starts posting a 1-3 record with a 4.45 ERA during that span. Darvish also hasn’t pitched exceptionally well inside Yankee Stadium either which is evident by his career 0-1 record with a 4.66 ERA in two starts inside Yankee Stadium.

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 broadcast featuring John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game Yankees family and as always…. Go Yankees!!

Can We Just Take A Mulligan?...

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
Angels 10, Yankees 5...

The win on Wednesday was just a tease.  Losing teams find ways to lose and unfortunately the Yankees gave another game away last night.  Unless they can turn this around, the Yankees are showing that the early season was just a mirage. You can't blame Aaron Judge.  He's trying.  He hit his 25th home run of the season and has hit safely in 24 consecutive games (the longest Yankee streak of the year).  But pitching, which has alternated between very good and very bad, is sitting in the latter category at the moment albeit with an occasional solid performance like Jordan Montgomery the other night.

Bronx Pinstripes had a great tweet last night.  "What a disaster.  At least we have Tanaka tomorrow.  ...Oh wait."  My line of thinking exactly...

The game started well enough.  Despite Cameron Maybin's lead-off home run to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead, the Yankees quickly answered in the bottom of the first when Angels starter Jesse Chavez walked Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday with two outs.  Starlin Castro followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning, it looked like this was going to be our night.  Chris Carter doubled and Ronald Torreyes reached base on an infield hit, pushing Carter to third.  Brett Gardner grounded into a force-out at second but Carter scored on the play.  Aaron Hicks singled, putting runners at the corner, bringing up Aaron Judge.  With a three-run shot to center, the Yankees were up, 5-1.  I didn't really expect those to be the final runs scored by the Yankees.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
The Angels started chipping away in the third when both Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar had run-scoring singles with two outs.  5-3, Yankees.  Luis Severino settled down after that for a few innings of solid work, but gave up another run in the 6th when Escobar opened the inning with a double and scored on a single by Luis Valbuena.  Valbuena, a third baseman, is a guy I thought the Yankees should have pursued in the off-season when he was a free agent.

Still, I had hope that the Yankees could lock down the Angels, score a couple of insurance runs and win the game.  Then, the 7th inning happened.  Cliff Pennington opened the inning with a single.  From there, the game unraveled.  Cameron Maybin hit a ground ball to Starlin Castro that should have been turned for a double play but Castro's fielding error allowed Maybin to reach base, with Pennington moving to third.  So, instead of two outs and no one on, the Angels had runners at the corners with no outs.  End of game for Luis Severino.  Chasen Shreve entered the game and was greeted by a sac fly from Kole Calhoun which tied the score at 5.  Exit Shreve, enter Dellin Betances.  Maybin stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Gary Sanchez.  Albert Pujols said 'I'll take your gifts...thank you very much' and lined a single to right, scoring Maybin for the lead.  Betances walked Escobar, followed by a wild pitch moving the runners to second and third.  With two outs, Andrelton Simmons doubled to give the Angels two more runs, 8-5.  

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
I was not ready to admit defeat and was pulling for an amazing comeback like the Yankees did earlier in the season against the Baltimore Orioles.  Yeah, right.  The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 7th and the Angels were ready for more in the 8th.  Domingo German took the mound, replacing Betances, and retired the first batter on a strikeout.  Unfortunately, this was followed by Cliff Pennington's double and a wild pitch that moved him to third.  Cameron Maybin walked.  A failed pick-off attempt at first by German, the third Yankees error of the game, allowed Pennington to score with Maybin moving to third.  Kole Calhoun graciously accepted the latest gift, and hit a sac fly to push the score to 10-5.  

The Yankees could only muster a single from Chris Carter in the 9th, and he was left stranded at second when Ronald Torreyes grounded out.

This was a very disappointing loss.  I am not sure how you can lose two of three in your home park against the Mike Trout-less Angels.  Giving away free runs on multiple errors and wild pitches are not the signs of a successful team.  With the loss, the Yankees (39-31) fell back into a first-place tie with the idle Boston Red Sox.  The Tampa Bay Rays, who also had the night off, moved to within 2 1/2 games of the leaders.  

Yes, I am mad about this loss.  And it scares the hell out of me that we'll be throwing Tanaka out tonight against Yu Darvish.  It doesn't get any easier...

Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium...

The Texas Rangers make their first trip to NYC for a three-game series starting tonight.  Pete Kozma, who started the year with the Yankees when Didi Gregorius was on the DL, is currently a back-up infielder for the Rangers.  Ernesto Frieri, who previously opted out of his Yankees minor league contract, is in the Texas bullpen.

Rangers:  Yu Darvish (6-5, 3.35 ERA)
Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (5-7, 6.34 ERA)

Rangers:  Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-0, 4.25 ERA)
Yankees:  Luis Cessa (0-1, 7.36 ERA)

Rangers:  Nick Martinez (2-3, 4.33 ERA)
Yankees:  Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.56 ERA)

Y'all enjoy the games now, y'hear!

Hopefully, we'll see the team that throttled the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles a couple of weeks ago.  I miss that team...

Odds & Ends...

Prior to yesterday's game, the Yankees purchased the contract of left-handed reliever Tyler Webb from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  I am very excited to see Tyler finally make it to the Show.  I've been following his career for a few years and I've liked the pitcher.  I was worried in the off-season when he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  As a mature lefty reliever (he'll turn 27 in less than a month), I thought he had the potential to stick with the Pirates.  Despite a solid Spring performance, he was returned to the Yankees in a numbers game (fortunately for us).  In 21 games for SWB, Webb is 3-1 with 3.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.  He has struck out 47 batters in 33 1/3 innings while allowing 33 hits and 12 runs.  He has only given up 3 walks and home runs.  They may not be elite numbers but I feel Webb has earned his shot. I am glad that he is here even if it's only temporary.  Rob Refsnyder was sent to SWB to make room for Webb.  
Credit:  Chris O'Meara-AP
Greg Bird has been given a cortisone shot in his ankle and the hope is that he'll soon be able to resume his rehab.  I find it highly unlikely that this will be the solution that gets Bird back on the field.  It seems to me that the problem with the ankle is more serious than we've been led to believe.  The cortisone shot just masks the pain, it doesn't fix the problem.   There is daily speculation who the Yankees should look at on the trade market.  Lately, Yonder Alonso has been receiving the most attention.  I like Alonso and do feel that he'd be an upgrade over Chris Carter or Tyler Austin.  I have no problems with Matt Holliday at first other than I want to keep the guy healthy.  DH is the better avenue to accomplish that goal.  The Atlanta Braves did a wonderful job in trading for the under-utilized Matt Adams, previously of the St Louis Cardinals.  Adams has done nothing but hit since he became a Brave and has sparked speculation that injured first baseman Freddie Freeman may be moved to third when he returns.  I want GM Brian Cashman to make one of those under-the-radar but highly productive moves.  I know, easier said than done.

I think Aaron Judge should accept the invitation to participate in this year's Home Run Derby.  I know that some players mess up their swings but like Manager Joe Girardi, I don't think it would adversely impact Judge's swing.  I like the idea of his exposure to the other great sluggers of the game.  It's all part of his maturation as a Major League superstar.  The Yankees have renewed popularity this year because of guys like Judge and Gary Sanchez.  The All-Star Game is a great format to represent the pride and tradition of the Yankees.  

This is not baseball related but as an owner of a black cat, I found this one quite humorous...and true!

Have a great Friday!  Let's not start a new losing streak today, please.

So it Seems We Need a Little More Positive Thinking Here

In a world full of Tyler Clippard’s that “suck” and Chase Headley’s and Chris Carter’s who couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat what the New York Yankees need is a little more positive thinking. The team is still far ahead of schedule as far as development and their rebuild goes and the team still has a legitimate shot at not only winning the American League East Division race but also making a bit of noise in the postseason. Sure, the Yankees had a seven game losing streak but no team in baseball has ever gone 162-0 and even the mighty, mighty 1998 Yankees struggled towards the end of the season keeping them from 116 wins or more in a season. So let’s start this Friday off with some positivity for once, dammit, and showcase some of these Yankees players that are far exceeding their expectations and players that definitely don’t “suck.”

Matt Holliday has far exceeded any expectations that I or most have presumably had for him. Holliday, 37-years old, has seemingly flourished in the designated hitter role for the Yankees while he has also been invaluable with his off-the-field work as well. It was well documented this offseason that Holliday spent extensive time with fellow outfielder Aaron Judge which may or may not have led to his monster breakout season. It sure didn’t hurt anyway. Through Holliday’s first 63 games this season the right-hander has batted .269 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI, which is basically what all the projections at ESPN, Baseball Reference and comparable sites had him doing all season long. Holliday has been great, the time off his feet in the field has been great for him and he is a huge part of the obvious and apparent team chemistry you see on the field with this team.

Speaking of Aaron Judge I don’t think anyone could make a post like this one this morning without mentioning the Yankees right fielder. Judge has been so great this season that Major League Baseball may see just the third instance in their history of a player winning both the Rookie of the Year Award and the Most Valuable Player Award in the same season. Judge was deemed a 25 home run guy with 200+ strikeouts and a low batting average type guy heading into the season and at the time of this writing Judge has already reached 24 home runs this season with a batting average well over the .300 mark. We aren’t even at the All-Star Break yet. By the way, the last player to win the ROY Award and the MVP Award in the same season was some guy named Ichiro back in 2001.

While we are on the subject of Aaron’s let’s switch over to the man that had a legitimate shot of sending Aaron Judge to the bench to start the season if he had a strong spring, Aaron Hicks. Hicks is probably the biggest secret weapon for the Yankees this season and may still somehow be the most underappreciated player on the roster as well. Through 54 games this season Hicks is hovering around the .300 mark with ten home runs and 35 RBI leading many to write his name in for All-Star Game consideration. Where would the Yankees be with Jacoby Ellsbury once again injured if it weren’t for Hicks? Where would the Yankees be even with Ellsbury in the lineup if it weren’t for Hicks? I have a sneaking suspicion that the team wouldn’t be as good as they are now, regardless, without Hicks in the lineup three-to-four days a week. Hicks has just been that good.

The Yankees acquired Starlin Castro before the 2016 season for relatively very little in terms of prospects because of declining stats and playing time in Chicago yet the new second baseman and former Chicago Cubs player has flourished here in the Bronx. Castro is usually a quick starter anyway but as we head towards July baseball here in the Bronx the Yankees second baseman does not seem to be slowing down, if anything he is getting stronger. Through Castro’s first 67 games this season the righty has amassed a .324 average with 12 home runs and 43 RBI. If the game were simple and you simply multiply those numbers by 2.5 you would see Castro reaching career highs in almost every offensive category across the board. Of course you can’t do that but it’s nice to think about 30 home runs out of him and 110 RBI at the end of the season. Castro is still just 27-years old too so the future looks bright for him as he enters his prime.

The final player we will showcase is one that I predicted to have a “contract year” for the Yankees, Michael Pineda. Pineda will be a free agent at the end of the season and like many free agents to be the Yankees right-hander seems to finally be putting it all together. Let me reiterate, finally. Pineda has still had his normal bumps in the road along the way but the right-hander has put together seven victories already while giving the Yankees the solid #2 starter that they thought they were acquiring in that 2012 blockbuster involving Jesus Montero with the Seattle Mariners. Next season we may be talking about Luis Severino, another player who has far exceeded expectations to many but not to me because I never gave up on him, solidifying that #2 slot but for now that position belongs to Big Mike.

So it Seems Trolls Need Attention

Trolls need attention. Trolls will say anything, true or not, to achieve this attention. These trolls are empowered by your attention, your anger and your hate. Even acknowledging a troll’s existence is a win in their book. There is a vicious cycle that is happening in the world that is empowered by the internet. The little kid, and I use that term to mean mentally and not literally, on the playground getting picked on is no longer just going home kicking their soccer ball crying the whole way home. That kid is now going on the internet and becoming the bully behind a screen. These trolls go from the lowest of lows to the highest of “highs” from being complete douche bags online.

The hardest people to love are the ones that need it the most. Too bad these trolls won’t get any loving from me. They won’t get any hate or anger from me and they damn sure won’t see me shed a tear for them either. Complete ghost mode activated, welcome to the real Hell’s Kitchen. Enjoy your stay and Happy Friday. TGIF, we made it.

Full Disclaimer: This post is not directed at anyone here on this blog or anyone that follows us on Twitter. This is something that is going on in my personal life and it is something that I need to get off my chest. Everyone have a great day and a great weekend. Especially you. Hey you and I love you my wife. I always have and I definitely always will. You are my rock. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 6/23: Cleveland ROCKED!

On this day in 1996 the Yankees showed how much of a "never count us out" team they really were when they behind early only to come back with nine runs in the sixth inning. The Yankees would win the game 11-9 at Jacobs Field over the Cleveland Indians and it would complete the first time the Yankees would sweep the Indians in Cleveland in a four game series since 1964.

Also on this day in 1950 the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees combined for 11 home runs in a nine inning game, a major league record for the most in a single game. Hoot Evers hit the historic home run as a walk off home to give the Tigers a very dramatic 10-9 victory over New York.

Finally on this day in 1915 the Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Bruno Hass made his major league debut against the New York Yankees at the very historic Shibe Park. The good news was the 24 year old southpaw, known as Boon, tossed a complete game in the contest and in the start established a post-1900 major league record. The bad news was the record was for issuing 16 walks during the nine inning game in a 15-7 loss to the Yankees.