Friday, September 8, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 9/8

How would you like to be in Arlington, Texas right now wearing one of those hot Yankees uniforms about to take on the Texas Rangers in the midst of a playoff chase? Who am I kidding, I’d kill for that opportunity and I know an absolute ton of you would as well. That is what the New York Yankees are just about ready to do as the team has made the trip down to Globe Life Park in Arlington and are just about set to face off with the Texas Rangers. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound in the contest to face off with Martin Perez for the Rangers. Both teams have their eyes set on the postseason as either a division winner or a Wild Card, although the division seems to be out of reach for Texas, so these games are ultra-important here down the stretch for both clubs.

The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET inside Globe Life Park in Arlington 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 with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, keep the pressure on the Red Sox and keep teams like the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim off your heels, and get a win. Go Yankees!!

Prediction: Yankees win 6-3

Predictions are a new thing I think I will try out for fun for the remainder of the season. If you all like it we may bring it back for the 2018 season. 

If Masahiro Tanaka Opts Out Could the Yankees Use This “Plan B” in His Place?

The New York Yankees have a huge offseason ahead of them and the only constant that may be on the team may be change. CC Sabathia is set to hit free agency and may or may not be re-signed while Michael Pineda’s contract also expires at the end of the season. The offseason may hinge on the decision looming for Yankees RHP starter Masahiro Tanaka though as he has an opt-out clause written into his contract that allows the Japanese-born right-hander to hit free agency at the end of the season. Whether Tanaka will opt-out and get re-signed, opt-out and head to another team or remain with the Yankees on his current contract is anyone’s guess but you have to think the Yankees have a Plan B if Tanaka does opt-out, don’t they? I mean, have you seen the way that Chad Green is pitching this season?

Green and the way he has emerged and seemingly put it all together all at once reminds me of another young Yankees starter, although this starter came with a lot more projectability and promise than Green. Luis Severino is a recent example of a young pitcher who struggled to find his way in his first Major League season only to build confidence, command and control of his pitching and his game in the Yankees bullpen. New York switched Severino back to the starting rotation in 2017 and the right-hander is likely the team’s ace and best pitcher here in 2017 so why couldn’t the Yankees do the same with Green in 2018? When the team acquired Green along with Luis Cessa in the Justin Wilson trade with the Detroit Tigers both were starting pitchers in Triple-A so the possibility is at least there if the Yankees want to take advantage of it.

Before the series finale with the Orioles yesterday afternoon the Yankees RHP had posted a 3-0 record with a team leading 1.97 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. That’s not dominance, that’s filth. Green hadn’t allowed a run in four straight appearances after pitching 2.1 innings against the Orioles on Monday after coming in to relieve Jordan Montgomery and getting out of a jam and has been just what the Yankees needed with a struggling Aroldis Chapman. Green wants to start though, he has said as much despite his political correctness, and if Tanaka opts out before the 2018 season Green may finally get his wish again.

If Green wants to be a starter he will have to work on his cutter and his curveball as Severino had to work on his secondary pitches last season but with the offseason and spring training to go before the 2018 season begins there is plenty of time for the young righty. If the Yankees can have Green pitching the way he has along with Severino, Montgomery, Chance Adams, Sonny Gray and others the New York Yankees may be a scary, scary team here in 2018. First things first though, 2017. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 9/8

The New York Yankees are fresh off an off day and fresh off a plane that brought the team to Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Another day and not only another big series but another series between two potential American League Wild Card winning hopefuls this season. In the opener of this three-game weekend between the two clubs the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to face off with the Rangers starter Martin Perez. Another fun weekend of baseball so let’s get to it.

Tanaka has been sharp since coming off the disabled list with inflammation of his right throwing shoulder. In his last three starts the Japanese-born right-hander has posted an impressive 3-0 record with a 2.14 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched. Tanaka has been just what the doctor ordered for the playoff hopeful Yankees down the stretch.

Perez has not been great at home this season posting a 5.42 ERA in 16 home starts. In the immortal words of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, that’s not what you want if you’re the Texas Rangers right now. Perez did pitch well in his last start though holding the Angels to three earned runs in six innings though and will look to build on that tonight against Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and the rest of the explosive Yankees offense.

The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET inside Globe Life Park in Arlington 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 with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Need a win, take a step closer to the postseason, and get a win. Go Yankees!

I'll Take A Win To Go, Please...

Credit:  Gail Burton-Associated Press

Yankees 9, Orioles 1...

Thursday was supposed to have been an off-day.  But thanks to Wednesday's rainout, the Yankees were forced to grab a win yesterday before they high-tailed it to BWI for the flight to Dallas/Fort Worth.  

The starting pitcher for Baltimore was Kevin Gausman, Greg Bird's former Grandview High School (Centennial, Colorado) teammate.  Bird was a catcher in high school so the two formed the battery for  the Wolves.  I was looking forward to watching Bird bat against Gausman but he was out of the lineup for Thursday's game.  He pinch-hit later in the game but Gausman was in the showers by that time.

Credit:  Aurora Sentinel
The game got started on the right foot.  Brett Gardner walked to lead off the first inning.  There's never anything wrong with getting the speedy Gardner on base.  After fellow Coloradan Chase Headley struck out against Gausman, Gardy stole second.  Gausman recorded his second strikeout when Starlin Castro went down swinging.  But never fear, Sir Didi's here.  Gregorius hit a double to right which brought Gardner around to score.  But the Yankees weren't done.  Next up was Aaron Judge.  Judge, showing no respect for Bird's good friend, boomed a towering shot to center.  T-Ball Practice! Note to Gausman:  It's probably best not to leave a high fat one over the middle of the plate. 3-0 Yankees before Sonny Gray could even pick up a baseball.

Credit:  Rob Carr-Getty Images

With Gray cruising through the first few innings, the Yankees struck again in the top of the 3rd.  Didi Gregorius, continuing his hot hitting, reached first on an infield single to short.  Aaron Judge walked (his 104th of the season) so there were two men on base for Matt Holliday.  Holliday's single lined to right scored Gregorius and moved Judge to third just ahead of the throw.  Jacoby Ellsbury hit a one-out grounder to second which forced Holliday but Judge was able to score when Ellsbury beat the throw to first to prevent the double play.  The Yankees had increased their lead to 5-0.

Gausman didn't return for the start of the 4th inning which dashed my hopes for a potential Greg Bird pinch-hitting opportunity against his friend.  Mike Wright took over for the O's.  With one out, Brett Gardner doubled to left.  Chase Headley added two more runs with his long home run to right. 

Star-light, Star-bright.  The top of the 6th, with O's reliever Donnie Hart pitching, opened with a lead-off single by Brett Gardner.  Sadly, to my disappointment, his stay on the base paths was ended when Chase Headley grounded into a double play at second.  Starlin Castro came up and asked 'is this what Manny Machado did the other night?' by way of his blast to left-center. Yankees led, 8-0, and Sonny Gray was still pitching like I wish he had pitched against the Boston Red Sox.  

Credit:  Rob Carr-Getty Images

Unfortunately, Sonny ran out of gas in the bottom of the 6th.  Jonathan Schoop got it started for the O's with an infield single.  Adam Jones hit a grounder to short with the fielder's choice eliminating Schoop at second.  Gray struck out Trey Mancini, but Chris Davis followed with a single to right center.  Jones moved to second.  Mark Trumbo hit a grounder to short but a throwing error by Didi Gregorius (off-balance throw over the head of Starlin Castro at second) allowed Davis to reach third while Jones scored.  Great overall job by Sonny Gray but it was time for his day to come to an end. Enter Chad Green; end of inning (by strikeout).  

The Yankees homered again in the top of the 7th when Todd Frazier joined the party with a solo blast to left. Orioles left-fielder Trey Mancini tried to leap but the home run ball was over his glove. Chad Green powered through the O's lineup in the bottom of the 7th, erasing the only base runner on a double play.  Coming into the season, I didn't really want the guy on the MLB roster and he's arguably been the most valuable (and most consistent) reliever in the bullpen.  I am glad the Yankees never hired me to be a talent evaluator. 

Tommy Kahnle helped three Orioles find their way to the bench in the 8th. Recent Triple A call-up Ben Heller took over in the 9th and he continued the trend set by his bullpen predecessors.  1-2-3, game over.  Yankees win!

The Yankees (75-64) are 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox were idle on Thursday but they had won the day before.  The Orioles slipped back to 4 1/2 games behind the Yanks.  The Yankees' lead in the Wild Card Standings is 2 1/2 games over the Minnesota Twins (the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-2).

Nice job by Sonny Gray (9-9).  He pitched 5 2/3 innings (102 pitches) and allowed six hits, two walks, and one run (none earned).  He struck out five while lowering his season ERA to 3.22.  Hand clap for the bullpen.  Green, Kahnle and Heller combined for 3 1/3 innnings of one-hit scoreless relief with three K's.  No drama...exactly the way I like it.

As for the hitting stars, pass the hat...everyone contributed.  This was a great team victory. Congrats to Austin Romine for successfully holding down the catching position while Gary Sanchez was on the golf course..or at the bar or wherever he may have been for three games off.  

The Yankees came close to the series sweep but taking two out of three at Camden Yards is still a notable accomplishment.   It's a good springboard for the next series. 

Next Up:  Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas...

The Yankees travel to Dallas/Fort Worth to take on the Yu Darvish-less Texas Rangers.  The Rangers remain in the hunt for a Wild Card spot so they'll be ready to play.  Like the Baltimore Orioles, the Rangers have a team of sluggers with 218 home runs this season which leads MLB.  Any mistake pitches will be making long distance travel plans.

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (11-10, 4.54 ERA)
Rangers:  Martin Perez (11-10, 4.87 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Severino (12-6, 3.03 ERA)
Rangers:  A.J. Griffin (6-5, 5.09 ERA)

Yankees: CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91 ERA)
Rangers:  Andrew Cashner (9-9, 3.29 ERA)

The Rangers' Ballpark has long been one of my favorites. Hopefully it holds good things for the Yankees this time around.  

Gene "Stick" Michael, Yankees Legend...

The Yankees Universe was deeply saddened yesterday when it was learned that Yankees Senior Adviser Gene "Stick" Michael had passed away due to a heart attack at age 79.  

There will be many obituaries and that's really not the intent of my mention of his passing. Growing up with the Yankees as my favorite team, Stick was such an integral part through the years.  I don't really remember his playing days, but I do remember his brief managerial stints with the team in the early 80's.  Of course, he directed the course of the franchise in the early 90's as the team's general manager while George Steinbrenner was serving his suspension and was probably the man most responsible for the late 90's dynasty.  What really stuck out to me about Stick over the years was his strong sense of loyalty to the Yankees organization and his ability to speak his mind and hold his ground with the Boss.  It was tough when Stick left the Yankees to become the manager for the Chicago Cubs in 1986 but I was happy when he found his way back home. 

The Yankees will wear black armbands on their left sleeve for the duration of the season in honor of Stick.  

Credit:  Barton Silverman-The New York Times

This is a HUGE loss for the Yankees.  Stick was one of kind and perhaps one of the greatest baseball evaluators ever. The man can stand among the huge Legends who wore Pinstripes.  He earned it. His impact to the organization has been as great if not greater than most.  He will be missed.  Rest in peace, Sir... 

Odds & Ends...

A few weeks ago, everybody was talking about how the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers were among the greatest teams of all-time.  Now, after losing seven in a row and 12 of 13 games, they'd have to go undefeated the rest of the way to match the 1998 Yankees.  Clayton Kershaw was pounded last night by the Colorado Rockies in his own ballpark.  If the Dodgers can't figure this out, their stay in October is going to be very short-lived.

The Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost the first game of their first round five-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 6-5, in 12 innings.  Game 2 is set for tonight at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA with Chance Adams on the mound for the RailRiders.

Have a great Friday!  Let's keep contributing the 'W' column!  Go Yankees!

Yankees Statistical Leaders Through 139 Games

Wow. 139 games down and just 23 to go barring any sort of tiebreakers or Game 163 situations. That of course also doesn’t factor in the postseason presuming that the Yankees get their as the AL East Division champion or as one of the Wild Card winning teams in the American League. Before we get too ahead of ourselves and start printing playoff tickets just yet, and yes I am aware that the playoff tickets are already printed and just not released as of yet, let’s take a look and see how the Yankees got here. Let us take a moment to remember which bats, which gloves and which arms got the team to where they are today and let’s take a second to showcase which bats, gloves and arms will get the team to their ultimate landing spot at the end of the 162-game marathon that we call a MLB regular season. Here are the Yankees statistical leaders through 139 games, all stats and credit go to Baseball Reference and the YES Network.

The Yankees Offense

At Bats:

Brett Gardner – 513


Aaron Judge - 134


Didi Gregorius – 133 


Chase Headley – 30

Home Runs:

Aaron Judge - 39


Aaron Judge - 87

Batting Average:

Starlin Castro - .315

The Yankees Pitching


Luis Severino – 12


Masahiro Tanaka - 10


Starters: Luis Severino - 3.03
Bullpen: Chad Green - 1.97


Starters: Luis Severino - 201
Bullpen: Dellin Betances - 91


Aroldis Chapman - 16


Masahiro Tanaka - 1

So it Seems….Welcome Back Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez was suspended for his role in the brawl between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers late last month and after appealing his suspension the Yankees catcher saw his suspension reduced to three games. Sanchez began serving that suspension on Monday when the Yankees traveled to Baltimore to take on the Baltimore Orioles and after sitting out that series with one of the team’s most bitter rivals the Yankees backstop is back and ready for action tonight in Texas. Welcome back Gary, unleash the Kraken.

Hey you! Good morning. I love your beautiful face and your beautiful soul…. And I loves you. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/8: ARod Hits #50

Before this day in 2007 only three members of the New York Yankees had ever hit 50 home runs in a single season, Babe Ruth (1920-54, 1921-59, 1927-60, 1928-54), Roger Maris (1961-61), and Mickey Mantle (1956-52, 1961-54). Alex Rodriguez on this day in 2007 hit his 50th and 51st home runs of the season to become the fourth member of the Yankees to ever reach the milestone. Also the second home run breaks the major league record of 49 home runs hit by a third baseman passing Mike Schmidt of the Phillies in 1980 and Adrian Beltre of the Dodgers in 2004.

Also on this day in 1925 Babe Ruth hit his 300th career home run in the second game of a double header between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Buster Ross gave up the milestone home run in the Yankees 7-4 victory over the Red Sox.