Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Four Yankees Named to Double-A’s Eastern League All Star Team

Four Players Named To Eastern League All-Star Team
The Eastern League announced Wednesday that four players, RHP Yefry Ramirez, LHP Justus Sheffield, INF Thairo Estrada and 1B Mike Ford have been named to the Eastern League All-Star Game, taking place on Wednesday July 13 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, New Hampshire.

2017 marks the second mid-summer classic for Ramirez, in 2015 with the Missoula Osprey (Rookie, Pioneer League) he was named a mid-season All-Star. In his first season at Double-A, Ramirez has gone 7-3 with a 3.48 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 64.2 innings pitched. Ramirez was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the week ending May 21 and enters play on June 28 ranked tenth in the league in ERA (3.48), tied for second in wins (7), fourth in batting average against (.232), and first in strikeouts per nine innings (9.19) among starting pitchers.

Sheffield earns the honor in his first full season as a member of the Yankees organization. In 14 starts for the Thunder he's compiled a 6-5 record with a 3.28 ERA. Sheffield has twice been named Eastern League Player of the Week and on Sunday, June 18 against the Erie SeaWolves, Sheffield threw his first career shutout. Entering play on June 28, Sheffield's 3.28 ERA ranks seventh in the League and his 69 strikeouts are third highest in the league. 2017 marks the third straight mid-season All-Star award for the left-hander from Tullahoma, Tennessee.

Thairo Estrada has been a staple atop the Thunder lineup and will play in his second All Star game as a professional in July. Estrada's .324 batting average entering play on June 28 ranks him fourth in the Eastern League. In addition to the high batting average, Estrada has been an on-base machine, reaching in 62-of-68 games played this season, in those 62 games he's reached 119 total times (89 hits, 23 walks, 7 hit by pitches).

Ford has been named a mid-season All-Star for the third time in his career following appearances with Charleston in 2014 and with Tampa in 2015. Ford enters play on Wednesday as the Eastern League leader in on-base percentage (.404), and walks (47). In 64 games played with the Thunder, Ford has hit eight home runs and driven in 40 runs with a .277 batting average.

The Thunder continue their series with the Richmond Flying Squirrels tonight at ARM & HAMMER Park at 7pm. For tickets and the latest information on Thunder baseball visit


Jorge Mateo Named Eastern League Player of the Week

Don’t look now but Jorge Mateo may be back after earning Eastern League Player of the Week. Here is the press release from the Trenton Thunder: 

Jorge Mateo Named Eastern League Player of the Week
The Eastern League announced Monday and INF Jorge Mateo was named the League's Player of the Week for the week of June 26th - July 2nd.

In his first six games  in Double-A, Mateo has matched his career-high with four walks in a game and set a new career-high with five RBI's in the Thunder's 14-2 defeat of New Hampshire in game one of Sunday's doubleheader.

Overall, the Yankees #3 rated prospect according to Baseball America, batted .522/.621/.913 with three doubles, one home run and two stolen bases in his first week with the Thunder. The 22-year-old infielder had five games this week in which he had at least two hits. Combined between Tampa and Trenton, Mateo is batting .262/.318/.440 with five home runs, 16 doubles, 11 triples and 30 stolen bases in 36 attempts.

Mateo's honor provides a new franchise record for the Thunder by becoming the seventh weekly award winner this season. In 2006, three different Thunder players (Shelley Duncan, Tyler Clippard, and Randy Ruiz) were honored a combined six times.

The Thunder have also set a new record for the most players named to the league's weekly award with five different players Chance Adams (April 6-16), Yefry Ramirez (May 15-21),, Justus Sheffield (May 22-28 and June 12-18), Billy McKinney (June 12-18) and Mateo earning it in 2017.

The Thunder return to ARM & HAMMER Park on Tuesday July 4th for a series with the Reading Fightin Phils. Tuesday's game features post-game firewroks presented by the U.S. Army. For tickets and the latest information on Thunder baseball visit


Yankee Doodle Bland-y....

Credit:  Rich Schultz-Getty Images
Blue Jays 4, Yankees 1…

The 4th of July is a great time for America as it celebrates the birth of our country.  Sadly, the Yankees were unable to provide any fireworks as they fell quietly to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.  

The game marked the return of CC Sabathia. Before the game, Manager Joe Girardi was hoping for 5 or 6 innings from Sabathia.  Unfortunately, it would prove to be something comparable to me hoping for winning PowerBall numbers. In retrospect, maybe CC should have taken a rehab assignment.  

The first inning went well enough as Sabathia retired the first three batters on fly outs to center, although he had Jacoby Ellsbury running hard for several of them.  The 2nd inning saw another three up, three down pass through the Jays lineup.  So far, so good.

Then, the 3rd inning happened.  The first two batters…no problem.  Steve Pearce flied out to left and Kevin Pillar struck out swinging.  Then, with two outs, Darwin Barney walked.  A wild pitch by Sabathia moved Barney to second.  Joey Bats followed with a single to right, scoring Barney.  Russell Martin singled and Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases.  Adam Warren got up in the bullpen to begin warming up.  On a 3-2 count, Sabathia threw Ball 4, high and outside, to Justin Smoak, which scored Bautista.  Kendrys Morales stepped up and lined a single to left through the hole, which scored Martin and Donaldson.  4-0 Blue Jays and it was shower time for Sabathia.  Warren came in to record the final out but the damage was done.  63 pitches by Sabathia (39 in the 3rd inning alone) and he was clearly laboring at the end.  He finished with 3 hits and 4 runs in 2 2/3 innings, walking 3 and striking out just 1.  Sabathia (7-3) saw his season ERA inflate to 3.81.  

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
The Yankees’ lone highlight came in the bottom of the 4th when All-Star Aaron Judge crushed a J.A. Happ pitch 456 feet to center, a line drive, for his 28th home run of the year.  The Statcast exit velocity of the ball was measured at 118.4 mph.  One more home run and Judge will match the Yankees rookie season HR record held by Joe DiMaggio. 

Credit:  Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
From there, the Yankees could not muster any further offense against Happ or the Jays bullpen.  Happ, a 20-game winner in 2016, picked up only his 3rd win of the year with six strong innings, holding the Yankees to four hits and the lone run.  The Jays pen held the Yankees hitless for the duration of the game.  It was a nice job by the Yankees bullpen too, most notably the 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief provided by Luis Cessa.  

The Yankees will attempt to take the series today with a win before the Jays leave town.  Tomorrow represents an off day (finally).  In their final series before the All-Star Break, the Yankees will host the Milwaukee Brewers for three games beginning Friday.  

The Yankees (44-38) slid four games behind Boston as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers, 11-4.  Boston's on a roll now with their sixth consecutive victory.   The Tampa Bay Rays are quietly sneaking up on the Yankees for second place as they are now just 1 1/2 games in back of the Pinstripers.  The Rays beat their former manager Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs yesterday, 6-5.  

It would have been great if the Yankees could have won on the birthdays of the United States and late owner George Steinbrenner but it was not meant to be.  We can only hope that the winning magic will return today.  Michael Pineda can make it happen.  

Odds & Ends…

After yesterday’s game, the Yankees dumped Chris Carter again.  It’s time for Carter to seek employment elsewhere.  In his final game for the Yankees, Carter was 0-for-2 and dropped a ball from Didi Gregorius in the 7th that was scored a hit for Joey Bats.  Fortunately for us, the Yankees decided it was time to pull the plug on Chris Carter Experiment II and have promoted first baseman Ji-Man Choi from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take his place.  In 55 games for the RailRiders, Choi, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels, hit 8 HR's and 41 RBI’s while batting .286.  Choi is not the answer but at this point, he’s better than the man he replaced.  Choi will be available for today’s game.  

Credit:  J Conrad Williams Jr-Newsday
The Yankees' decision to send Bryan Mitchell to Triple A on Tuesday rather than Luis Cessa was based on the desire for Mitchell to continue working as a starter for potential help in the rotation later in the season if necessary.  

Credit:  J Conrad Williams Jr-Newsday
Logan Morrison, shut up.  The Rays first baseman called out Gary Sanchez on Tuesday when he said the Yankees catcher did not deserve to participate in next week's Home Run Derby.  In the midst of a career season, Morrison said "I remember when I had 14 home runs (Sanchez currently has 13).  That was a month and a half ago."  Morrison was not selected for the All-Star Game and is currently one of five listed on the AL Final Vote ballot, along with Didi Gregorius and Mike Moustakas.  Even if Morrison somehow won the Final Vote, I seriously doubt that baseball fans would want to see him over Sanchez in the Home Run Derby.  Morrison can go spend next week in Tampa or Kansas City or wherever he's from while Sanchez heads for Miami.  

Have a great Wednesday!  I prefer to see this as Winnin’ Wednesday.  Let’s Go Yankees!

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/5: Roger Clemens 3000th K

On this day in 1998 future Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens struck out then Devil Ray Randy Winn for his 3,000th strike out of his career. Roger would become only the 11th player to ever reach the plateau when he did it in a Toronto Blue Jays jersey.