Friday, September 15, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/15

You all hear that? It sounds like birds crying because it is game time between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. This is the second of this huge four-game set between these two clubs this weekend and will showcase the pitching matchup of Luis Severino for the Yankees and Gabriel Ynoa for the Orioles. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX channel 11, MASN 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. Like the New York Lottery you may hear Orioles manager Buck Showalter crying after another drubbing by the Yankees offense tonight if you tune in, “Hey you never know.”

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, get a win and make the old bitter man cry. Go Yankees!

Prediction: Yankees win 12-7

Looking Ahead to Potential AL Wild Card Opponents for the New York Yankees

Before we get too far into this I want to preface this article with a little disclaimer. I want the Yankees to win the AL East Division and I don’t want to go to a one-game playoff with their season on the line. I don’t necessarily want the Yankees to win the Wild Card but I will take the Wild Card over playing golf into the first week of October so with that in mind I wanted to take a look at the potential AL Wild Card Game opponents the New York Yankees could be facing off with, assuming they make it there themselves of course, next month in the postseason. Before jumping on the bandwagon that I am jinxing the Yankees or it is bad “juju” or karma to look ahead remember that entering the series with the Baltimore Orioles yesterday the Yankees had a 98.4 chance of making the postseason according to Fangraphs. I feel good about this thing and so should you.

The Baltimore Orioles, who the Yankees continue their series with here in just a few hours, and the Tampa Bay Rays, who the Yankees just won a series against inside Citi Field this week, are still mathematically in the hunt for the AL Wild Card but the way these two teams have been playing of late mixed in with their strength of schedule you have to think both teams are considered long shots at this point. You can’t predict baseball, remember, and both teams could go on historic runs into the postseason, I am not completely counting them out, but I think by the end of the weekend the Yankees would have put the nail in both of these coffins with series victories. Just a hunch. Entering the weekend both teams had right at or less than 1% of making the postseason according to Fangraphs.

The Seattle Mariners are in front of both Baltimore and Tampa Bay and the Seattle Robbie Cano’s have four teams in front of them just to face off with the Yankees. New York has beat up on Seattle this year and won more times than not in their head-to-head series with a 5-2 record. Seattle is expected to get both James Paxton (12-3, 2.78 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) and Felix Hernandez (5-4, 4.28 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) back from injuries this week and both are returning just in time for the final playoff push for Seattle. Paxton would be tough to see in a one-game playoff as would Hernandez, only because Hernandez absolutely kills the Yankees, but I have to think the Yankees could take care of business if Luis Severino or Masahiro Tanaka, whichever right-hander starts the game for New York, pitch well.

The Texas Rangers are division rivals of those Seattle Mariners and are one of the many teams that Seattle will have to leapfrog in order to get into the postseason. The Rangers have played the Yankees tough this season splitting the six meetings between the two clubs led by Cole Hamels (10-3, 4.05 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) and Andrew Cashner (9-9, 3.19 ERA, 1.26 WHIP). While Hamels record this season may not be much to write home about the left-hander definitely knows where the switch is and knows how to flip it when the calendar turns to postseason baseball. Hamels has a career 3.48 ERA in the postseason and a 1.09 WHIP in 98.1 innings pitched including a 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP to show for it. Neither pitcher strikes out many batters leaving much of the responsibility on the backs and the bats of the Rangers offense. Can the likes of Adrian Beltre hit enough home runs off either Severino or Tanaka to keep the Rangers in the contest? They always say that good pitching beats good hitting in the postseason and if Texas wins either one of the Wild Card spots in the American League I guess we will put that theory to the test one more time.

The Kansas City Royals were left out to sea by many early on in the season and somehow the Royals just keep fighting back. The Royals have struggled against the Yankees this season losing four of the six meetings between the two clubs and in one start against Kansas City this season Severino dominated and shut out the Royals over eight innings of work but again, the postseason is called the second season for a reason. Either Danny Duffy (8-8, 3.78 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) or Jason Hammel (8-11, 4.91 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) would likely get the start for Kansas City if the Royals were to get there although Duffy comes with a question mark or two since the lefty hasn’t pitched since August 22 after nursing a pronator strain in his left pitching elbow. While this potential matchup looks great for the Yankees on paper I cannot be the one to count out the Royals, especially considering essentially this exact lineup went to back-to-back World Series including one time as an AL Wild Card winner. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have a lot to prove as each are likely on their way out of Kansas City and both would presumably like to go out with a bang.

The Minnesota Twins have been hanging around all season long and had it not been for an absolutely stellar season by the Cleveland Indians here in 2017 we may be talking about the Cinderella team of the year being these Minnesota Twins. Paul Molitor has done a great job as their manager this season and so has Ervin Santana (15-7, 3.35 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), their ace who would likely start the AL Wild Card Game if everything lined up right. If the Twins were to have to use Santana in a tiebreaker or a Game 163 scenario then the team would likely turn to Jose Berrios (12-7, 3.94 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) after silencing Aaron Judge and the Yankees offense once already this season on July 19. Berrios is the only Twin to beat the Yankees this season, Yankees lead the season series two-games-to-one, and the 23-year old does not seem bothered by the bright light or the spotlight. Minnesota is a huge threat to the Yankees, especially in a one-game playoff, but if New York doesn’t pitch to Miguel Sano and the offense makes an appearance I truly think the team will be just fine.

The final team the Yankees could potentially face off with head-to-head in the AL Wild Card Game is the team that I predicted to win the spot here a few weeks back on the blog when I discussed the strength of schedule for all the vying teams in the AL, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Disney World of Orange County of Elm Street of Pasadena, California home of the Big Bang Theory. The Angels actually have a winning head-to-head record against the Yankees winning four of the six meetings between the two clubs and in one of those starts Severino wasn’t exactly sharp allowing six runs, five earned, in six innings of work in a loss. Los Angeles may have lost their two best starters this season in JC Ramirez and Alex Meyer but the team also got back Garrett Richards (0-1, 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP in three starts)  who would likely start the game if the Angels were to get that far. This is a much improved team since they have faced the Yankees also, although to be fair so is New York, after adding Brandon Phillips and Justin Upton before the August 31st trade deadline and this team could be really scary come October in a one-game playoff. I think LAA will ultimately win the second Wild Card but part of me is wishing that they won’t, that’s called respect. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/15

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles continue their four-game set this weekend tonight in the Bronx with the second game of the series. In the matchup tonight the Yankees will send another ace in Luis Severino to the mound hoping to take the Yankees one step closer to the postseason while the Orioles will counter with Gabriel Ynoa as Baltimore clings on to their own playoff lives. Put the nail in the Orioles coffin before those disgusting little birds start pooping all over the Yankees parade as they tend to be known to do. Enjoy the game!

Severino was the ace the Yankees needed once again in his last start against the Texas Rangers allowing just one run on one hit in seven innings of work. Severino struck out 10 in the contest as well before handing it over to the Yankees bullpen. Severino was dominant against Baltimore the last time the righty saw them as well on June 10 allowing just one run on two hits in seven innings of work.

Ynoa wasn’t great in his last start for the Orioles allowing three runs on seven hits in just 4.2 innings pitched. That kind of inconsistency is likely why this is the third time that Ynao is up with the Orioles big league club this season after posting a 5.25 ERA in Triple-A Norfolk here in 2017.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX channel 11, MASN 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. Take one step closer to the postseason, need a win so get a win, and Go Yankees!!

All Rise with Thumbs Down!...

Yankees 13, Orioles 5...

It is fun to have these kind of games. After Masahiro Tanaka set down the Baltimore Orioles with seven pitches in the top of the 1st inning, the Yankees offense jumped all over Orioles starter Wade Miley with six runs in the bottom of the inning enroute to the easy victory.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off for the Yankees with a single up the middle. Aaron Judge's single to center, a fly that dropped in, advanced Ellsbury to third. Gary Sanchez doubled to the left field corner with a hard line drive that scored Ellsbury. Judge moved to third. Matt Holliday recorded the first out on a grounder to third, but Judge, running on contact, scored easily. The hits kept coming as Chase Headley singled to right over the second baseman's glove, scoring Sanchez. Didi Gregorius lined a single to right, Headley moved to second. Todd Frazier made it a 6-0 game with his blast into Monument Park. End of the night for Miley after giving up six runs while getting only one out. Mike Wright came in for long relief.  Despite a two-out walk to Clint Frazier, Wright was able to get the O's out of the inning without any further damage.

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

The Orioles got a run back when Jonathan Schoop led off the 4th inning with a homer to left, a high fly that momentarily looked foul but stayed in. They threatened for more when Adam Jones followed with a single and Trey Mancini reached base on a fielding error by Todd Frazier, but Masahiro Tanaka struck out sluggers Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, and was able to get Wellington Castillo to ground into a force play at second to end the inning.

The Yankees quickly answered the call.  In the bottom of the 4th, Clint Frazier reached on a single to center and Jacoby Ellsbury walked. Aaron Judge stepped to the plate and drew the 'It is high, it is far, it is gone!' call from John Sterling with his shot to right center.  9-1, Yankees.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

Trey Mancini homered in the top of the 6th with one out and no runners on, a fly into the second deck of right field. But like the 4th inning, the Yankees responded. Clint Frazier led off the bottom of the 6th with a double bouncing off the center field wall and Jacoby Ellsbury took another walk. Aaron Judge stepped up again.  While he was batting, I was thinking that his last homer was nice but it wasn't crushed like we know that Judge can do.  Boom! He made up it for it with a monster blast to the second deck in left to make it a 12-2 game.  While we were still enjoying the thought of Judge's 43rd homer, Gary Sanchez followed with a home run to center (another ball landing in Monument Park).  It was his 31st homer of the year, setting a new mark for Yankees catchers, breaking a tie with Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

In the top of the 7th, Orioles top prospect, catcher Chance Sisco, recorded his first major league hit with a double to the right field corner off Tanaka.  With runners at second and third, and only one out, Tanaka struck out Anthony Santander and Austin Hays to get out of the inning with no runs allowed. They were the final pitches thrown by Tanaka, who was replaced by Bryan Mitchell to start the 8th.  

I've always liked Bryan Mitchell, but this hasn't been a great year for him.  Trey Mancini led off the 8th with a single to right on a line drive.  Mitchell was able to retire the next two batters on ground outs but Joey Rickard's double to the left  field wall scored Mancini. Caleb Joseph followed with a double to the right field wall between the outfielders, scoring Rickard. Mitchell was finally able to get out of the inning when he got Tim Beckham to ground out.

Giovanny Gallegos took over for Mitchell in the top of the 9th inning.  Chance Sisco came to bat again after getting his first MLB hit two innings earlier and accomplished another first when he homered to the right field porch leading off.  I suspect that we'll be seeing more...much more...from Sisco in the future.  The next batter, Anthony Santander, hit a high fly to right that looked like it had a chance for a back-to-back HR but it sailed just to the right of the foul pole.  Gallegos subsequently got Santander to strike out.  He retired the next two batters (great catch of a line drive by Ronald Torreyes at second to end the game), and the Yankees had the win.  

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Oakland A's, 6-2, to maintain their three game lead over the Yankees (80-66).  The Yankees remained three games up in the Wild Card Standings.  The second-place WC team, the Minnesota Twins, beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2, in extra innings.  

Masahiro Tanaka (12-11) was the winner.  His final line was 7 innings, 8 hits (a bit high but he did a good job in leaving the runners stranded), 2 runs, 2 walks, and 8 strikeouts.  He was also able to lower his season ERA to 4.73.  

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny Gray was probably wondering why he can never get this type of run support...

Luis Severino (12-6, 2.96 ERA) takes the hill for the Yankees tonight.  He'll be opposed by Gabriel Ynoa (1-1, 4.19).  Hopefully, the Yankees win and continue to put pressure on the Red Sox.  

Odds & Ends...

It was not a good night for the Yankees top two farm teams.  

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost Game 3 of the Governor's Cup Finals to the Durham Bulls, 6-2.  Chance Adams took the loss. The Bulls lead the series, 2 games to 1, and can take the championship with a win tonight at PNC Field in Moosic, PA. Brady Lail will draw the start and attempt to even the series.

The Trenton Thunder bowed out of the Eastern League Championship Series when they were swept by the Altoona Curve. The Curve defeated the Thunder, 4-2, to win the best-of-five series in three games. Will Carter was the starter and loser.  

Have a great Friday! Let's have another thumbs-down performance! Go Yankees!

Credit:  YES Network

Why I’m Not Afraid of the Boston Red Sox in the Postseason

Yesterday morning I detailed how I, Daniel Burch, was not afraid of the Cleveland Indians if the New York Yankees potentially faced off with them in the postseason but the team with 21 straight wins isn’t the only team I’m not afraid of. I’m not afraid of any damn Boston Red Sox either! Here are just a few of the reasons why.

Well first and foremost you can look at the schedule and see that these two teams have split the 12 games they have faced off head-to-head this season. Six wins for the Yankees and six wins for the Red Sox but the most encouraging part of the those six wins for the Yankees is how well they have played against the Red Sox when Chris Sale was on the mound. Sale faced the Yankees in three consecutive Yankees/Red Sox series and Sale dominated one start, should have lost another if it weren’t for some late heroics by Boston on Sunday night baseball and the lefty took an “L” on the chin after getting knocked around in the third. With the Yankees showing an ability to have Sale’s number mixed in with the fact that the team has historically hit David Price, Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz better than most I feel supremely confident about their chances going forward. Add in a Doug Fister or an Eduardo Rodriguez into the Red Sox starting rotation and it may be Home Run Derby in October for the boys in pinstripes.

The Yankees bullpen is deep and it is only going to get deeper once New York gets Adam Warren off the disabled list as he battles back spasms. As good as the Yankees starting rotation has been with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray the bullpen may be that much better with David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad Green. These are not the Yankees that the Red Sox beat up on in July as Tanaka has been better, the bullpen has been better and solidified and Gray has been added to the mix. The Red Sox made moves of their own before the trade deadline but having Porcello struggle and having Price on the disabled list again with an elbow injury just isn’t what you want if you’re Boston right now.

The final reason I’m not afraid of the Boston Red Sox is because, well simply put, they are the Boston Red Sox. The Curse of the Bambino has been reversed for 13 seasons now but there once was a point in time where the Yankees were the “daddies” of the Boston Red Sox and there’s no telling when that time could come again. With Greg Bird (hopefully) back in the mix and with the youthful and now healthy Yankees striding towards the postseason I say bring on the damn Red Sox. I want the best of the best on the way to World Series #28 because I want no excuses along the way. To hell with the Indians and to hell with the Red Sox too while you’re at it. 

So it Seems…. Friday!

Good morning everyone and TGIF! Thank goodness it’s Friday. After the storm preparation from Hurricane Irma, the actual storm and the aftermath of the storm I have come to one conclusion. The worrying and the stress are more exhausting than the actual storm preparations and cleanup. I’m just glad to still be here talking to you all this morning so I guess I can’t complain too much, especially with the weekend upon us once again. We made it! I hope everyone has a great Friday and an even better weekend filled with lots of fun, family, friends and Yankees victories. Maybe even a wedding or two.

I love you Kari Ann Burch. Always have, always will. HEY YOU.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/15: And the Oscar Goes To....

Derek Jeter has had an illustrious career with the New York Yankees including 14 All Star appearances, a 1996 Rookie of the Year award, 2000 All Star Game MVP award, 2000 World Series MVP award, Hank Aaron awards, Babe Ruth award winner, Roberto Clemente award winner, Lou Gehrig Memorial award, five Gold Glove awards, five Silver Slugger awards, and many other notable achievements and awards in his career but on this day in 2010 Jeter gave an Oscar worthy performance.

Jeter was awarded first base by the umpires after what appeared to be a hit by pitch by pitcher Chad Qualls. Video replay showed that the ball clearly hit the knob of the bat but Jeter's acting got the shortstop on base in a close game with the Tampa Bay Rays. After the game, a 4-3 loss to the Rays, Jeter admitted to pretending to get hit by the pitch to get on base. So much for Jeter's squeaky clean persona.