Thursday, June 29, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Chicago White Sox 6/29

And for the final time this week and this series the New York Yankees will make the trip to Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago to take on the Chicago White Sox, let’s get to it. In the finale the Yankees will send Luis Cessa to the mound making his third start in place of the injured CC Sabathia while the White Sox will counter with James Shields. Is this a big enough game for the right-hander to earn his nickname back? Stay tuned. The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Guaranteed Rate Field and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

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

Quick Hit: New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund and Shady Dealings

There’s be’s some shady dealings going on here in the Bronx and I don’t likes it. In all seriousness though and as close to grammatically correct as I can get there really are some shady dealings apparently happening and being exposed when it comes to the “New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund.” The Yankees created this charity after the organization caught heat for taking public park land to build the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with the promise of the team distributing millions of dollars in grants, sports equipment and tickets to the local community organizations in the Bronx. Apparently that isn’t what is happening in all reality.

The New York Times released a report this week stating that this fund has been lacking oversight since its creation and the money has not been distributed where it should be going. The word “corruption” wasn’t used but if it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck… it’s corruption.

Between the years of 2008 and 2015 only 30% of the funding from the program has gone to an organization which is in the same ZIP code as Yankee Stadium or its four bordering zip codes. Instead the money has been allocated to wealthier and less affected areas of the Bronx.

This has nothing to do with the team really. The team itself and owner Hal Steinbrenner probably have little to nothing to do with the fund as it was merely a legal obligation for getting the stadium built but still. This looks terrible on the team and the organization, especially when almost 40% of the people living in the same zip code of the Bronx as the stadium resides in are under the poverty line. That money, if it went where it was intended, could do some real good in the Bronx and its surrounding areas.

Maybe something like this will make the money be allocated where it is supposed to go. One can only hope anyway. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Chicago White Sox 6/29

The New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox have played three times already this week so what’s one more, right? So these two teams will complete their four-game set this week with their contest today that will showcase Luis Cessa for the Yankees and James Shields for the White Sox as the pitching matchup. This leaves me wondering if today’s contest counts as a ‘big game” for Shields or if the fans have gone past that nickname in recent years, for obvious reasons.

Cessa will be making his third start of the season tonight in place of injured lefty CC Sabathia and will be looking for his first win of the 2017 season. Cessa hasn’t looked great in relief of Sabathia pitching to a 0-2 record and a 6.57 ERA that included his last start against the Texas Rangers where he struck out eight batters in five innings of work.

Shields has made two starts since coming off the 10-day disabled list and the right-hander has been hit hard in both of them. In Shields’ last start the righty gave up six runs in three-plus innings of work while allowing multiple home runs in a start for the first time all season.

The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast which features Mr. and Mrs. Baseball, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!!

Tanaka + Baby Bombers + 99 = 1 for the Win Column!...

Credit:  Associated Press
Yankees 12, White Sox 3...

Two young Bombers collected their first Major League hits to help power Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees to the victory over the Chicago White Sox.  Throw in another Aaron Judge home run and it was a good night at the office (even if it was a slightly wet and windy one).

When I saw the lineup card, I was a little concerned when I saw that two "fresh" rookies would be starting.  But on this night, they were exactly what the doctor ordered.  The Yankees jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.  Brett Gardner walked to open the game.  Following outs by Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and a passed ball that moved Gardy to second, Didi Gregorius reached first safely on a throwing error by White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.  Gardy scored on the play.  Chase Headley and Austin Romine both walked to load the bases.  Miguel Andujar, a new arrival from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, stepped to the plate and chopped a single to center which scored Gregorius and Headley. 

Credit:  Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Tanaka escaped a bases loaded jam in the 2nd but he wasn't so lucky in the 5th.  After the White Sox opened the inning by loading the bases with two hits and a walk, former Yankee Melky Cabrera lined a single to left, scoring two runs.  Fortunately, Tanaka was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.  3-2, Yankees.

The Yankees wasted no time in re-establishing a multiple run lead.  In the top of the 6th, against Sox reliever Jake Petricka, Austin Romine doubled with one out.  After Miguel Andujar hit a grounder for the second out, Tyler Wade followed with his first Major League hit, a fly ball that dropped in for a double to score Romine.  Ronald Torreyes then laced a sharp double to right, scoring Wade.  5-2, Yankees.  White Sox manager Rick Renteria came out to talk to Petricka and was thrown out when he began jarring with the Home Plate Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.  The Yankees two-out hit parade continued as Brett Gardner singled to center to score Torreyes.  Aaron Judge came up and lined "a bullet" to left for his 27th home run of the season.  8-2, Yanks.

Credit: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Tanaka (6-7) finished his day by striking out the side in the bottom of the 6th.  I really didn't know what to expect out of Tanaka for this start.  I didn't know if last week's stellar performance against Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers was an aberration or a sign that Tanaka was back on track.  Fortunately, it appears the turbulence may be a thing of the past...or at least I hope so.  Tanaka's final line was very solid.  6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 5 SO.  He threw 101 pitches, lowered his season ERA to 5.56 and most importantly, did not give up any home runs.  

It started to rain in the 7th inning.  It got a little tense in the bottom of the inning when Tyler Wade, playing left field, was charged with an error.  A fly ball that normally would have been destined for center field drifted toward left with the aid of the wind.  Brett Gardner, playing center field, was moving with the ball and attempted to catch it but so was the left-fielder Wade.  Their gloves collided causing the ball to bounce out of Gardy's glove.  The White Sox put a second runner on base on another wind-aided fly ball that Ronald Torreyes missed.  There was also a fly in foul territory that normally would have been caught if not for the wind.  Despite a subsequent walk that loaded the bases, Chad Green was able to strike out Todd Frazier to end the threat.  Whew!  I was very worried that the wind was going to help the White Sox get back in the game.  I guess there's a reason they call it the Windy City.

In the top of the 9th, Didi Gregorius hit a one-out two-run homer to increase the lead to 10-2. In a bit of deja vu from earlier in the game, both Chase Headley and Austin Romine walked in front of Miguel Andujar.  Like the first inning, Andujar didn't miss the opportunity.  He lined a double to center to score (again) both Headley and Romine.  Nice debut performance by Andujar with 4 RBI's on the night.  He finished 3-for-4 with a stolen base.  He was probably left wondering what's so hard about baseball at this level.

Chicago's Adam Engel homered off Tyler Webb in the bottom of the 9th to make it 12-3 but then Webb settled down and retired the next three batters (two by strikeout).  The Yankees win!

Then it was off to bed for the Baby Bombers...

After so many close games and disappointing losses, it was nice to have a blowout.  The Yankees (42-34) moved back into a first place tie in the AL East with the win.  The Boston Red Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins, 4-1.  The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-2, so they are three games back.  

Odds & Ends...

Former Yankees top prospect Jesus Montero, 27, is looking for a new team.  He was released on Tuesday by the Triple A Norfolk Tides, the top farm team for the Baltimore Orioles.  Montero recently completed a 50-game suspension for a banned substance and was only batting .143 in 49 at-bats with 14 strikeouts for the Tide. After Montero's trade to the Seattle Mariners in the 2012 deal that brought Michael Pineda to New York, he has spent time in the Toronto Blue Jays' organization in addition to his latest Minors stint with the O's.  I guess that means the Red Sox or the Rays are on tap next.  It's been a hard road for the player once billed to be the next greatest catcher for the Yankees.  Now he's struggling to just stay in the game at first base or DH.  Sad story for the guy who was supposed to be Gary Sanchez before Gary Sanchez was.   

News started breaking early on Wednesday about the promotion of third base prospect Miguel Andujar to the Yankees.  Andujar had just been promoted from Double A Trenton to Triple A Scranton on June 19th.  In 67 games for the Thunder, Andujar had a slash line of .312/.342/.494 with 7 HR's and 52 RBI's.  Out of 79 total hits, 23 went for doubles.  He also had a team-high 10 errors.  In 7 games for the RailRiders, Andujar was hitting .308 with 1 HR and 2 RBI's (8-for-26). It is a small sample size but he only committed one error at Triple A.  He hit well during Spring Training but his fielding was questionable. Nevertheless, he is known as an above-average defender.  He now has a golden opportunity to out-perform an over-priced, 33-year-old veteran.  Yesterday's debut, even if he was at DH and not third, was a great start.
To make room for Andujar, the Yankees placed DH Matt Holliday (viral infection) on the 10-Day DL retroactive to June 25th.  Holliday has been battling the symptoms of the allergic reaction he first encountered in Oakland.  He'll return to New York for further tests.  We wish Matt the best and hope to see him back on the  field in the near future.  

We thought the Chris Carter Experiment was over, but alas, it might not be.  The Yankees have announced that Carter, previously designated for assignment, has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple A. He now represents the next option should the Yankees decide it is necessary to place Tyler Austin on the disabled list (hamstring).  So, just when you thought it was safe to watch a Yankees game again...

Happy Thursday!  One final game in Chicago before the getaway to Houston, Texas.  Let's Go Yankees!

So it Seems the Yankees Could Have Had Clay Bellinger

Could you imagine a lineup that had some combination of the Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger and the Yankees stars Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge hitting in the middle of it? Talk about that being the dream. Well according to a new report that was released this week that could have been a reality for the Yankees as the organization had a chance to draft Bellinger, son of former Yankee Clay Bellinger, during the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft.

Before the 2013 MLB Draft the Yankees had Bellinger inside Yankee Stadium after inviting him to a pre-draft workout for some of the top amateur players. During the workout they had a game for the players and Bellinger hit a three-run home run to right field, the first home run Bellinger would ever hit inside of a big league park. The Yankees instead took LHP Ian Clarkin and Aaron Judge with their pair of first round picks in that draft passing on Bellinger. Instead the Dodgers took Bellinger in the fourth round with the 124th overall pick with what might soon be the steal of the draft.

All told the Yankees drafted Clarkin, Judge, Eric Jagielo who is still in Double-A within the Cincinnati Reds organization at last check, center fielder Michael O’Neill and second baseman Gosuke Katoh. Yeah, looking at that list hurts when you see what Bellinger has done thus far for the Dodgers in 2017.

In the Yankees defense every team passed over Bellinger at least three times, sometimes four times, during that draft and for good reason. Bellinger had just one home run during his senior season and didn’t show the pop that he has at the big league level. As a first baseman with little-to-no power you can see why teams would be weary of using an early draft pick on him. The Dodgers took the chance and the Dodgers caught lightning in a bottle. Say what you will about the Dodgers scouts and system being better than the Yankees, and it very well may be but not because they drafted Bellinger, but any team that drafted Bellinger did not expect him to be lighting the world on fire and being among the league leaders in home runs before the All-Star Break. Nobody.

One last thing before we go. Kris Bryant was also drafted in that draft class, ahead of Bellinger obviously, leading me to wonder if that draft class may go down as one of the best in recent memory when all the dust settles and when this trio stops hitting home runs. Food for thought on this Thursday. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 6/29: David Justice the Yankee

On this day in 2000 the New York Yankees tried multiple times to bolster their offense in trades and failed to get Juan Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa before settling for David Justice from the Cleveland Indians for Ricky Ledee and two players to be named later. That trade kind of worked, no?

Also on this day in 1941 Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees played in a double header with the Washington Senators. The wins and losses didn't matter as much as the fact that DiMaggio tied and then broke the American League record for consecutive games with a hit, previously held by George Sisler with 41 straight games with a hit. DiMaggio had a seventh inning single off Walt Masteron to break the tie with Sisler.