Thursday, August 10, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 8/10

And just like that ladies and gentleman it is game time in Toronto as the Toronto Blue Jays play host to the New York Yankees in the finale of their three-game set. In the finale of the series the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the mound who will be making his second start of his Yankees tenure 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 and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars all season long by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

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

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

This has got to be the most disgusting thing I think I have ever seen and I just had to share....

Boy we haven’t done one of these in a while, have we Yankees fans? There may be a good reason for that. First and foremost the USA Today, where I get these power rankings from, haven’t exactly been doing the best job in keeping their rankings up to date but also the Yankees haven’t exactly been killing it on these rankings either to be completely honest. How far have the mighty fallen you ask? Keep reading to find out.

At one point this season the New York Yankees were ranked as high as high as second overall in the league while the team at one point fell all the way to 18th. This week though the Yankees were ranked still in the Top 10 with the 9th overall position, falling one spot from their ranking last week. Gary Sanchez apparently can’t play defense, which is not a new development if you have followed him since being signed as an international free agent, and CC Sabathia’s knee is hurt. Bring back Jordan Montgomery and/or continue the youth movement with Chance Adams. Don’t fret, the team is playing with house money here in 2017.

The biggest rise of the week went to the Baltimore Orioles who rose three spots to the #16 position overall while the biggest fall of the week goes to the Texas Rangers who fell three spots to the #19 position. In the immortal words of Joe Girardi, that’s not what you want.

The American League East shakes up like this. The Boston Red Sox are ranked 5th overall and leading the division followed by the Yankees who are 9th overall in the rankings and the Tampa Bay Rays who are 11th in the rankings here by the USA Today. Baltimore rose to 16th this week while the Toronto Blue Jays are 21st overall on the rankings.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox round out the Top 5 while the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers round out the Top 10.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 8/10

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will finish off their three-game set today inside the Rogers Centre with the third interesting pitching matchup of the series. Happy Sonny Gray Day ladies and gentleman as the Yankees send their newest toy and acquisition to the mound for the second time in his Yankees tenure. It’s a shame Gray couldn’t pitch tomorrow as the Yankees begin a series with the Boston Red Sox but what can you do, right? Opposing Gray on the mound for the Blue Jays today will be Marco Estrada. Good luck to both teams.

Gray took the loss in his Yankees debut against the Cleveland Indians allowing four runs, just two of them earned, on four hits in six innings of work. In Gray’s final start as a member of the Athletics the Toronto Blue Jays tagged Gray for four unearned runs.

Estrada has been solid in his last two starts lasting at least seven innings in both. Estrada will be making his team-leading 24th start tonight for Toronto and will look to play spoiler for the Yankees who are still in the hunt for a playoff spot.

The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto, eh, and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and let’s get the hell out of Canada. Back to the states! Go Yankees!!

The Bottom Third and the Bullpen...

Credit:  Tom Szczerbowski-Getty Images
Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5...

The bottom of the Yankees lineup powered the team to victory on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays with an assist by the bullpen.  Six of the eleven runs were courtesy of the bottom third of the order.  Nine runs if you throw in the number 6 hitter (the Toddfather).  It was a much needed win as the Boston Red Sox are currently riding an eight-game winning streak (which they will bring to the Bronx on Friday night when they begin a three-game series against the beloved home team).

Masahiro Tanaka only gave up two hits but he was gone after four innings, pulled in the 5th with no outs, having thrown 88 pitches which included five walks and three runs (two earned).  So, it was up to the stacked bullpen to power its way to victory.

The Yankees got on the board first with two runs in the top of the 2nd.  Gary Sanchez and Todd Frazier led off the inning against Blue Jays starter Nick Tepesch with back-to-back home runs.  The Jays' Kevin Pillar made a nearly successful leap to rob Sanchez, but the ball was just beyond his reach.  I've said it before but I hate solo home runs.  It's not that I hate home runs...I love the runs, but I just prefer men on base when it happens (statement of the obvious).  Two home runs...the potential for eight runs...or two.  I just prefer to be somewhere in the middle (or more).  Oh well, the stats seem to favor the Yankees when they homer in games so I am not complaining.

Credit:  The Associated Press
The Blue Jays got on the board in the bottom of the 2nd when Steve Pearce walked and advanced to third on Kevin Pillar's double to left.  Nori Aoki hit a grounder to second  for an out, but Pearce scored on the play (with Pillar moving to third).  It got a little too interesting with the next batter when Darwin Barney hit a grounder to third and the Yankees had Pillar caught in a rundown.  But it wasn't executed cleanly and Pillar almost scored if not for the athleticism of Tanaka who took the throw behind Gary Sanchez to nail the runner at the plate.  

Credit:  Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
The top of the 3rd brought another solo home run, this time a shot to the second deck in right center by Didi Gregorius, as the Yankees increased their lead to 3-1.  

Credit:  Steve Russell-Toronto Star
The Jays answered in the bottom of the inning without a single hit.  Raffy Lopez led off and reached base through catcher's interference on a pitch that would have been the third strike.  Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak walked to load the bases.  Steve Pearce hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Donaldson to make it a one-run game.  

It looked like the Yankees were going to break the game open in the 5th when Aaron Judge walked and moved to third when Didi Gregorius doubled to center.  The Jays brought in Leonel Campos to replace Tepesch.  He was successful in striking out Gary Sanchez, but Todd Frazier followed with a double to right center to score Judge and Gregorius.  Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to center to score Frazier and it was 6-2 Yankees.

Credit:  Mark Blinch-The Associated Press
In the bottom of the 5th, the Jays started to chip away.  Jose Bautista led off with a home run to left.  Masahiro Tanaka walked the next batter (Josh Donaldson) and Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough.  He brought in Chad Green who struck out the side to prevent any further damage.

Unfortunately, the 6th inning didn't go so well for Green.  Nori Aoki opened with a single.  Darwin Barney hit into a fielder's choice that erased Aoki, however, Ryan Goins doubled to left center to score Barney.  Girardi elected to pull Green and brought in Tommy Kahnle.  A wild pitch by Kahnle moved Goins to third.  Raffy Lopez walked to put runners at the corners.  Josh Donaldson singled to right center, scoring Goins, and it was a one-run game again.  

The Yankees finally got separation in the 8th when Todd Frazier led off the inning with a single to left center off Jays reliever Dominic Leone.  The Jays pulled Leone for J.P. Howell who struck out Jacoby Ellsbury.  Howell was then lifted for Taylor Cole which backfired on the Jays.  Garrett Cooper doubled to left with Frazier moving to third.  Ronald Torreyes, who has done a stellar job as a fill-in for Starlin Castro, singled to center to score both Frazier and Cooper.  Torreyes took second on the throw.  The Yankees almost had another run when Chase Headley singled to left center but Toe was gunned down at the plate.  

Nevertheless, the Yankees picked up three more runs in the top of the 9th with Cole still on the mound.  Didi Gregorius reached base on an infield single, Gary Sanchez singled to center and Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to second but Gregorius scored on the play.  Garrett Cooper doubled to center to bring both Sanchez and Frazier home.  The Jays had seen enough of Cole and pulled him for Danny Barnes who retired the last two Yankee batters get out of the inning and let the Jays come to bat for their last licks.

David Robertson and Dellin Betances had pitched scoreless innings in the 7th and 8th, respectively.  For the 9th to close it out, Girardi brought in Adam Warren.  It wasn't clean but he got the job done.  A walk and a single had runners at the corners with two outs, but Warren got Kevin Pillar to fly out to Aaron Judge to end the game.  The Yankees win!

It was so great to see the Yankees finally make noise with runners in scoring position.  Garrett Cooper led the 17-hit attack with a 4-for-5 night.  He had 2 RBI's and scored a run.  It was by far his best game as a Yankee.  Jacoby Ellsbury and Ronald Torreyes also had 2 RBI's each.  Todd Frazier was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI's and four runs scored, including his 19th home run of the season.  Didi Gregorius was 3-for-5 with an RBI on the solo homer, his 18th, and three runs scored.  It was good to see Gary Sanchez homer, also his 18th.  He had two hits and scored twice.  This was a great team victory to pick up Tanaka.  Green (2-0) was the winner.  

Credit:  Mark Blinch-The Associated Press
The Yankees (60-52) remain four games behind the Boston Red Sox.  As noted at the top of this post, the Red Sox won their eighth consecutive game, beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-2.  Even though the Yankees didn't gain any ground on the Red Sox, they increased their lead over the Rays by 3 1/2 games.  The Baltimore Orioles also lost (5-1 to the Los Angeles Angels) so they fell 5 games behind the Yankees.  The Yankees currently hold a 2 1/2 game advantage in the Wild Card standings but I still think the AL East can be won.  The Red Sox are off today so the Yankees can pick up a 1/2 game with a win today over the Jays on Getaway Day.  The Sox will be waiting for the Yankees in the Bronx for a three-game set starting on Friday night.

Clint Frazier was scheduled to start the game in right field but was a late scratch for oblique tightness.  No immediate word on his condition.  Aaron Judge was moved from DH to right field, Chase Headley from 1B to DH, and Garrett Cooper inserted into the starting lineup at first.  Obviously, Cooper took advantage of the opportunity at Frazier's expense.

Odds & Ends...

I'll let others write about the upcoming Players Weekend on August 25th through 27th when players can wear nicknames on the back of alternate uniforms.  I know that many Yankee fans are up in arms, but I am indifferent.  It is a playful three days and it does not involve desecrating the famed Pinstripes.  But Pickles?  Really?  We're going to throw Pickles at the Seattle Mariners?  Well, at least we can throw The Missile at them later.  I know that Sonny Gray has a story behind the name but it is still hard to wrap my head around it.

CC Sabathia's MRI came back clear so it sounds as though he'll be back on the mound sooner rather than later.  No word if he'll miss any time.  Admittedly, I am skeptical about continuing to throw him out there.  The knee surely factored into the two home runs by Josh Donaldson on Tuesday.  I am not crazy about testing the knee in live, game scenarios.  I've enjoyed CC's Yankees career but the end of this contract is a good farewell point for me.  I have no interest in testing the knee in 2018.  

I was bummed to see the Mets trade Jay Bruce to the Cleveland Indians.  I thought he would fit well on the Yankees roster as 1B/DH.  With a recent inability to get runs across the plate, Bruce would have helped kickstart the offense.  Apparently the Yankees were involved in trade talks until the end, but the dealbreaker was money.  The Yankees wanted the Mets to pay some of the remaining money owed to Bruce whereas the Indians absorbed the full balance due.  

Have a Sunny Day Thursday...or a Sonny Gray Thursday!  Let's Go Yankees!

Is it “Safe” to Eat MLB Ballpark Food?

The title says it all, is ballpark food safe to eat? Now before you immediately click off the post and write me off as someone who is going to talk to you about clean foods, organic choices and healthy living rest assured that I am not. While I enjoy those foods as well I am under no illusions of what I am getting when I step into a ballpark and order a hot dog and a beer. What I and many don’t know is what is going into the preparation of this food before I order and consume it. Local health departments and such are required to do food inspections of these ballparks and Sports Illustrated compiled all the data into one convenient post for all to see. Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, and Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, are not on the list after public records requests were unfulfilled before the post went live leaving them off the list. Are you wondering how Yankee Stadium did? I was too so here is the write-up from the SI post.

We will start with the best ballpark to eat at, Safeco Field home of the Seattle Mariners:


Total violations: 5 | Critical violations: 1
Ballpark Food Safety Rating: .08 | Entities inspected: 72 
Seattle set the league standard, and it wasn’t close. The lone critical violation was for food held at an improper temperature. Two minor violations were cited for utensils stored improperly. We went back to each stand’s 2016 inspection to see if this year was an outlier. Last year's results were worse overall—17 total violations, eight of which were critical—but would've still snagged first place in our rankings. Congrats, Mariners fans. Enjoy your grasshoppers with peace of mind.

We can continue with the home of the New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium:


Total violations: 57 | Critical violations: 24
Ballpark Food Safety Rating: 2.19 | Entities inspected: 37
Yankee Stadium led the league with critical violations (62% of its stands), and an infestation of flies highlighted the inspections from late July in the Bronx. Inspectors handed out citations at over a dozen food entities around the ballpark for observation of flies and improper vermin-proofing. The city doesn’t give detailed observations in its reports, but nearly a quarter of the stadium’s violations came from improper maintenance for non-food surfaces. Last year, even without a fly problem, Yankee Stadium would have finished in the same spot in our rankings. The ballpark had fewer overall violations but more that were critical, mostly from the restaurants and suites.

The team that got the lowest score and the most critical citations was the Tampa Bay Rays and their home stadium, Tropicana Field. I shudder at the thought of me eating at Tropicana Field now. Thanks, SI:


Total violations: 241 | Critical violations: 105
Ballpark Food Safety Rating: 5.58 | Entities inspected: 62
With a staggering 105 critical violations in 2017, Tropicana Field brings up the rear in our rankings. Two food entities (the catering kitchen and the stand outside Section 303) tallied over 20 violations each. Violations ranged from the observed presence of live insects to black mold accumulating inside an ice bin. An employee was observed handling hot dogs and cash without washing hands in between. An ESPN report from seven years ago found that every inspected stand at Tropicana had at least one critical violation. That number has dropped from 100% to about 50%, but the Tampa Bay stadium still leads the way in eye-popping food safety numbers.

A few notable parts of this article that I felt the need to mention are the apparent rat infestation that is going on at Coors Field in Colorado and Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, the apparent broken coolers at PNC Park that were registering 50 degrees Fahrenheit for things like hot dogs and cheese, mold on the ice machines at Miller Park and expired food that was being served to the fans, and a live roach at Globe Life Park in Texas just to name a few. All those can be seen in the article so go check them out.

To see the rest of the rankings and what the health inspectors had to say head over to Sports Illustrated and check out their post. It’s a long read but it’s definitely a good read. I’m still going to order these monstrosities and my hot dogs and beer but at least I can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into that like person who didn’t know their coffee would be hot from McDonald’s that one time. Pot shot, sorry. Not sorry. Enjoy the rest of your day, the game here in a few hours and your dinner from the ballpark if you’re headed out that way. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/10: David Cone & The Streak

David Cone was one of the best Yankees signings in the mid to late 90's but in the year 2000 the right hander seemed to hit a wall. Cone went from throwing a perfect game in front of the Yankee Stadium crowd to not getting a victory in 16 straight decisions, until today. On this day in 2000 Cone finally got the long sought after win when the Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics 12-6. Jose Canseco hit a three run home run to help Cone end his skid.

Also on this day in 1986 the Yankees held Billy Martin Day at Yankee Stadium and retired his #1 jersey and erected a plaque in his honor in Monument Park. The plaque read "There has never been a greater competitor than Billy." The four time manager and former second baseman addresses the sold out crowd by saying "I may not have been the greatest Yankees to put on the uniform, but I am the proudest."

Finally on this day in 1957 Mickey Mantle became the first player to ever hit a home run that cleared the center field hedge at Memorial Stadium. The home run was an estimated 460 feet and helped the Yankees beat the Orioles 6-3.