Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 9/19

And just like that it is game time once again in the Bronx as the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium are just about ready to play host to the Minnesota Twins. If the season ended today these two teams would face off head-to-head in the American League Wild Card Playoff Game and the consolation prize of facing off with the Cleveland Indians in a five-game series. Oh joy. The Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound looking to take one step closer while shaving a game or two off the Yankees magic number to clinch a postseason spot while the Twins will counter with Jose Berrios who looks to keep Minnesota in front of teams like the Rays, Orioles, Rangers, Mariners and Angels to name a few who are chasing them down for that final playoff spot. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX channel 11, ESPN 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 following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, make things even more interesting in the Wild Card race, and get a win. Go Yankees!

Prediction: Yankees win 5-3

Next Baby Bomber to Watch: Thairo Estrada

Two Baby Bombers to watch in one day, boy is it your lucky day or what? I kid, a little bit anyway, but really I am just so excited over the future of this Yankees team and farm system. I have salivated for years at the thought of the likes of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird knocking bombs over the wall while Luis Severino and others pitched and closed out those games and now that those dreams have come to fruition it’s time to keep moving forward. It is time to keep looking towards the future as the second wave of reinforcements is coming for the Bronx Bombers, and one of those such players is named Thairo Estrada.

Estrada is likely to be added to the 40 man roster this offseason to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft but with that not set in stone let’s take a look at the decision that is looming and the man that it affects for the Yankees. Estrada was signed out of Venezuela back in 2013 and the infielder made his debut at just 17-years old. Now Estrada is 21-years old and is coming off his first All-Star Game appearance for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, and not a moment too soon for Estrada either.

Estrada is considered to be a contact hitter with little power, although he is a strong guy because of all the different gloves that he carries around. Estrada has played second base, short stop and third base during his tenure with the Yankees and the small right-hander, Estrada stands just 5’11” and 185 lbs., is already drawing comparisons to Ronald Torreyes. Estrada is a career .287/.347/.392 hitter with eight career home runs who doesn’t take a lot of walks but he doesn’t strike out a ton either. Again, he is considered to be a contact hitter.

Estrada, like Nick Solak, will also face an uphill climb to the Major Leagues with the amount of youth, talent and depth the Yankees already have in the middle infield. It would totally be within the realm of possibilities to see Estrada traded this offseason since the Yankees already have a super utility player in Tyler Wade that the team is pretty high on but at the same time Wade could easily be traded leaving the door open for Solak or Estrada. The Yankees have options and that’s what a deep and talented farm system can do for a team. It is a sight for sore eyes and it’s been a long time coming and no one is happier than I am about it, except maybe the Steinbrenner family of course. 

Luis Severino Starting a Potential Wild Card Game is the Right Move

The New York Yankees showed their hand a bit this week and into last weekend when manager Joe Girardi flipped his starting rotation around and you know what, for once it was the right move to make for the Yankees. Of course Girardi didn’t say as much when he was asked over the weekend the reason for his rotation juggle but looking ahead at the schedule you can easily see why the moves were made as their ace Luis Severino is now perfectly set up to start either a Game 163 tiebreaker or the AL Wild Card Game for the Yankees.

CC Sabathia was pushed back from Sunday to tonight against the Minnesota Twins to “keep him off the turf” next week when the Yankees travel to the Rogers Centre to take on the Toronto Blue Jays while Sonny Gray took the ball on Sunday in a loss against Baltimore. Jaime Garcia started yesterday and Masahiro Tanaka will start tomorrow in the finale of the series leaving Severino to start Friday in Toronto. I guess it makes sense to not have Severino start against a Minnesota Twins team who currently lead the 2nd Wild Card chase in the American League, huh? I mean, because CC has a balky right knee and all.

The way things look now Severino will make one more regular season start for the Yankees after his turn through the rotation this Friday in Toronto lining him up perfectly for an October 3rd start (currently) in the Bronx against these same Minnesota Twins.

It’s risky but it is a risk worth taking. The Yankees wouldn’t have Severino available for the final weekend assuming they needed him, but Fangraphs and their percentages and likeliness of making the playoffs says that they won’t, unless the team brought their ace back on short rest. If they did that, which they likely won’t, then Masahiro Tanaka could start the Wild Card Game for New York. Win, win. This is the right move to make and frankly I am surprised that Joe Girardi did it to be completely honest. Great move, keep them up and this team will go far. 

Quick Hit: 2018 MLB Schedule Released

Yes, yes I know this is a couple days old by now but I was busy away at a wedding out of town this weekend and I am just now getting caught up. Major League Baseball has released their tentative schedule for the 2018 season so I thought I would bring it to you in its entirety this afternoon. Major League Baseball will host Opening Day on its earliest day ever, March 29 while the regular season is slated to end on September 30 of 2018. The reason for the early start is due to the new collective bargaining agreement which gives the MLB players three additional off days throughout the season while also meaning October baseball will be playoff baseball only here next season. Here are a few other notable dates and games for you if you don’t want to skim through the schedule.

All 30 teams will be in action on Opening Day for the first time since the 1968 season.

The AL East will play the NL East in Interleague play while the AL and NL Central and West Division will each face off head-to-head in 2018.

The 2018 MLB All Star Game will be held on July 17th inside Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals.

The Yankees first 13 games are within the American League East Division.

The first interleague game for New York is April 16 and 17 inside Yankee Stadium against the Miami Marlins. The first game here the Yankees pitchers will have to hit inside a National League Park is May 15 and 16 when the Yankees travel to Nationals Park to take on the Washington Nationals.

The Yankees first West Coast road trip is against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim April 27 – 29.

There will be six games this season within the annual Subway Series with the first three coming June 8 – 10 inside Citi Field. The three games inside Yankee Stadium will be hosted on July 20 – 22.

The Yankees and the Braves, because I live in Metro-Atlanta, square off in the Bronx from July 2 – 4 and the team will not make the trip down to Atlanta in 2018. What a bummer.

March 29 at Toronto
March 30 at Toronto
March 31 at Toronto
April 1 at Toronto
April 2 Tampa Bay
April 4 Tampa Bay
April 5 Baltimore
April 6 Baltimore
April 7 Baltimore
April 8 Baltimore
April 10 at Boston
April 11 at Boston
April 12 at Boston
April 13 at Detroit
April 14 at Detroit
April 15 at Detroit
April 16 Miami
April 17 Miami
April 19 Toronto
April 20 Toronto
April 21 Toronto
April 22 Toronto
April 23 Minnesota
April 24 Minnesota
April 25 Minnesota
April 26 Minnesota
April 27 at L.A. Angels
April 28 at L.A. Angels
April 29 at L.A. Angels
April 30 at Houston
May 1 at Houston
May 2 at Houston
May 3 at Houston
May 4 Cleveland
May 5 Cleveland
May 6 Cleveland
May 8 Boston
May 9 Boston
May 10 Boston
May 11 Oakland
May 12 Oakland
May 13 Oakland
May 15 at Washington
May 16 at Washington
May 18 at Kansas City
May 19 at Kansas City
May 20 at Kansas City
May 21 at Texas
May 22 at Texas
May 23 at Texas
May 25 L.A. Angels
May 26 L.A. Angels
May 27 L.A. Angels
May 28 Houston
May 29 Houston
May 30 Houston
May 31 at Baltimore
June 1 at Baltimore
June 2 at Baltimore
June 3 at Baltimore
June 5 at Toronto
June 6 at Toronto
June 8 at N.Y. Mets
June 9 at N.Y. Mets
June 10 at N.Y. Mets
June 12 Washington
June 13 Washington
June 14 Tampa Bay
June 15 Tampa Bay
June 16 Tampa Bay
June 17 Tampa Bay
June 19 Seattle
June 20 Seattle
June 21 Seattle
June 22 at Tampa Bay
June 23 at Tampa Bay
June 24 at Tampa Bay
June 25 at Philadelphia
June 26 at Philadelphia
June 27 at Philadelphia
June 29 Boston
June 30 Boston
July 1 Boston
July 2 Atlanta
July 3 Atlanta
July 4 Atlanta
July 6 at Toronto
July 7 at Toronto
July 8 at Toronto
July 9 at Baltimore
July 10 at Baltimore
July 11 at Baltimore
July 12 at Cleveland
July 13 at Cleveland
July 14 at Cleveland
July 15 at Cleveland
July 20 N.Y. Mets
July 21 N.Y. Mets
July 22 N.Y. Mets
July 23 at Tampa Bay
July 24 at Tampa Bay
July 25 at Tampa Bay
July 26 Kansas City
July 27 Kansas City
July 28 Kansas City
July 29 Kansas City
July 31 Baltimore
Aug. 1 Baltimore
Aug. 2 at Boston
Aug. 3 at Boston
Aug. 4 at Boston
Aug. 5 at Boston
Aug. 6 at Chicago White Sox
Aug. 7 at Chicago White Sox
Aug. 8 at Chicago White Sox
Aug. 9 Texas
Aug. 10 Texas
Aug. 11 Texas
Aug. 12 Texas
Aug. 14 Tampa Bay
Aug. 15 Tampa Bay
Aug. 16 Tampa Bay
Aug. 17 Toronto
Aug. 18 Toronto
Aug. 19 Toronto
Aug. 21 at Miami
Aug. 22 at Miami
Aug. 24 at Baltimore
Aug. 25 at Baltimore
Aug. 26 at Baltimore
Aug. 27 Chicago White Sox
Aug. 28 Chicago White Sox
Aug. 29 Chicago White Sox
Aug. 30 Detroit
Aug. 31 Detroit
Sept. 1 Detroit
Sept. 2 Detroit
Sept. 3 at Oakland
Sept. 4 at Oakland
Sept. 5 at Oakland
Sept. 7 at Seattle
Sept. 8 at Seattle
Sept. 9 at Seattle
Sept. 10 at Minnesota
Sept. 11 at Minnesota
Sept. 12 at Minnesota
Sept. 14 Toronto
Sept. 15 Toronto
Sept. 16 Toronto
Sept. 18 Boston
Sept. 19 Boston
Sept. 20 Boston
Sept. 21 Baltimore
Sept. 22 Baltimore
Sept. 23 Baltimore
Sept. 24 at Tampa Bay
Sept. 25 at Tampa Bay
Sept. 26 at Tampa Bay
Sept. 27 at Tampa Bay
Sept. 28 at Boston
Sept. 29 at Boston
Sept. 30 at Boston

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 9/19

The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins are back at it again tonight in the Bronx in what is likely to be a preview of the American League Wild Card Game here in 2017. The Yankees are currently set to host that game if the season ended today much like the team is set to host the Twins tonight inside Yankee Stadium. The Yankees did some starting pitching juggling this weekend, more on that later, leaving CC Sabathia to start for the Yankees tonight while the Twins will counter with Jose Berrios. Leave a bad taste in these Twins mouths, enjoy the game.

Sabathia wasn’t long for his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays lasting just 4.1 innings on September 11. The reasoning? The Yankees didn’t want Sabathia to face the Rays most dangerous hitter in Evan Longoria for a third time despite the fact that the veteran lefty has posted a 2-0 record with a 3.14 ERA since returning from the DL with knee pain.

Berrios was good in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays allowing just one run on five hits in 5.2 innings of work striking out five and walking four. That was a home game for Berrios and the Twins where Berrios has been dominant with a 2.45 ERA. The road has been a different story for Berrios this season though as the Twins youngster has a 5.14 ERA on the road here in 2017 which is not an encouraging stat when you’re about to square off with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and the Yankees prolific offense.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX channel 11, ESPN and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with the legendary John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Keep watching that magic number drop and keep that pressure up on the Boston Red Sox in the AL East Division, all at the poor ole Minnesota Twins expense, just like old times. Need a win, get a win. Go Yankees!

The Missile is Back!...

Credit:  Kathy Willens-Associated Press
Yankees 2, Twins 1...

The game had many stars...Jaime Garcia, Aaron Judge, David Robertson, Todd Frazier, but it was Aroldis Chapman who brought home the victory with his 5-out save that included working out of a one-out bases loaded jam in the top of the 8th inning as the Yankees held off the Minnesota Twins.

I've not been a very big fan of Jaime Garcia but he delivered on Monday night.  In a game that looked like a mismatch on paper (Garcia against 15-game winner Ervin Santana), Garcia was just a tad bit better on this night. It was evident that he brought his "A" game when he struck out the side in the first inning to start the game against his former team of 6 days in July.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-Associated Press

Aaron Judge gave Garcia an early lead when he belted his 44th homer of the year, a solo shot to right. It was Judge's 97th RBI of the season.

The Twins tied the game in the top of the 5th inning. Eddie Rosario led off with a single to second on a ball that was deflected off the glove of  a diving Didi Gregorius into shallow right field. Eduardo Escobar singled to right, but Aaron Judge's slight bobble of the ball (ruled an error) allowed Rosario the time he needed to race around to third base. Robbie Grossman hit a grounder to third. Todd Frazier fielded and threw to second for the force out on Escobar but Rosario scored and the game was tied.

Garcia was able to get the first two outs in the top of the 6th, but when he gave up Joe Mauer's single to right, his day was done. David Robertson, ready and waiting, came in and struck out Byron Buxton to end the Twins' side of the inning.  

Garcia probably wished that he could have gotten Mauer out because the Yankees scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 6th inning. Chase Headley singled to center on a ball that was deflected off the glove of second baseman Brian Dozier with one out.  Starlin Castro singled to left, with Headley moving to second. With Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate, a wild pitch by Ervin Santana allowed the runners to move up to second and third.  Ellsbury was then intentionally walked to load the bases. Todd Frazier's sacrifice fly to center scored Headley and the Yankees had a 2-1 lead.

The Twins made a pitching change and brought in Trevor Hildenberger who retired Greg Bird on a ground out at first so the Yankees were unable to push any further runs across.

Dellin Betances replaced the highly effective David Robertson to start the 8th inning and the drama began. He hit the first batter, Robbie Grossman, with a pitch to the hip. Zach Granite pinch hit for Jason Castro and moved Grossman to second with a sacrifice bunt. Max Kepler pinch hit for Ehire Adrianza and drew a walk on four successive pitches. After pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited the mound, Betances threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners to second and third. Larry, your talk didn't work! Betances proceeded to walk Brian Dozier, after almost striking him out on a foul tip that Gary Sanchez was unable to catch earlier in the at-bat, and the bases were full with only one out. Finally, Joe Girardi realized that it was not Dellin's night and mercifully made the call for Aroldis Chapman.  

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

Chapman proceeded to strike out the dangerous Joe Mauer on three pitches and got Byron Buxton to jump on the first pitch for a fly out to right to end the threat. Chapman had averted disaster in shutting down the Twins on four pitches. Whew!  No wait, a BIG WHEW!  

Credit:  Kathy Willens-Associated Press

Chapman easily retired the Twins in the top of the 9th, with the radar gun reaching 104 mph. His swinging strikeout of Eduardo Escobar ended the game. The Yankees win!

The Yankees (83-67) were unable to make up any ground on the Red Sox.  Boston, despite falling behind by five runs early, overcame the Baltimore Orioles in extra innings, winning 10-8. So, the Yankees remain three games behind the Sox. The Yankees increased their Wild Card lead over the Twins to five games.  

I will continue to be critical of Jaime Garcia because I am not a fan of his, but for this game, he pitched well enough to win. 5 2/3 innings, four hits, one run (no earned runs), and nine strikeouts on 85 pitches. An incredible stat, for him, was no walks given his propensity for free passes. David Robertson (9-2), the winner, has the most wins of any reliever. I love his 'Andrew Miller' like attitude (willingness to pitch anywhere, any time). Aroldis Chapman was clearly the game's MVP for his clean-up of the mess created by Dellin Betances. Even better is that he only threw 16 pitches for the five-out save, his 19th, so he'll be ready to go again tonight. Chapman pitching at the top of his game is crucial for October success.

Nice win, guys!  

Odds & Ends...

MLB.com has released its revised list of Top 100 Prospects and the great Gleyber Torres is #1! Of course, we already knew that and anxiously await his arrival in the Bronx in 2018.

Other notable Yankees and former Yankees include: 23) Clint Frazier; 41) Blake Rutherford (White Sox); 55) Chance Adams; 70) Dustin Fowler (Athletics); 82) Estevan Florial; 84) Justus Sheffield; and 96) Miguel Andujar. Proving that we drafted the wrong son of Dante Bichette Sr, Toronto's Bo Bichette came in at #26. His brother, Dante Jr, has been a disappointment in the Yankees organization and probably will not return. The Yankees took Dante Jr with their first pick (a compensatory pick, #51) in 2011. It was the same year they drafted Greg Bird, Jake Cave and Jon Gray (who didn't sign and was later drafted by the Colorado Rockies).   

Have a great Tuesday! Let's put away those pesky Twins for the series win! Go Yankees!

Next Baby Bomber to Watch: Nick Solak

The New York Yankees have far exceeded anyone’s expectations here in 2017 with a young team that was not expected to make a serious playoff run until next season. With the Yankees magic number to clinch a playoff spot now under 10 with just a couple weeks to go left in the regular season a return to the postseason looks like an almost guarantee for the boys in pinstripes. This is great news if you’re a Yankees player or a fan of the Bronx Bombers as the “now” looks bright but what should make you even happier is the outlook towards the future. This team’s farm system is still plentiful and deep and one such member of that farm system is a young man we will showcase as our next Baby Bomber to watch, his name is Nick Solak.

Solak was a second round pick for the New York Yankees back in the 2016 MLB First Year Players Draft out of the University of Louisville as a second baseman. Solak was drafted with the intention of moving him through the system quickly and that is exactly what is happening right now with the former Cardinals infielder. Solak made his professional debut with the Staten Island Yankees in 2016 before having a breakout type season here in 2017 splitting time between the High-A Tampa Yankees and the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Solak has spent much of this season in Tampa but since his promotion to Trenton the Yankees second base prospect has seemingly not missed a beat.

Combined this season Solak hit .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs and 26 doubles, that’s power the Yankees would love to get out of a middle infielder going forward. Solak did see his strikeout numbers increase in 2017 striking out 100 times but the team also saw Solak walk 63 times, a 12% clip this season. With this kind of production Solak is not long for Double-A and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the right-hander in Triple-A earlier rather than later during the 2018 season. Whether that trip to Scranton sets up Solak to be the everyday second baseman or a bench piece like Ronald Torreyes has been remains to be seen but one thing is for certain, Solak is on the path to the Major Leagues and you better get off the tracks… because he’s coming.

One thing I will say about Solak with the Yankees and his path to the Majors is this, New York has so much depth at the middle infield positions right now that could very well work against Solak in his journey to the show. Dare I say, trade bait this offseason? Who knows, stay tuned. 

So it Seems…. Wow What a Weekend

Wow what a weekend it was so you’ll have to excuse us as we once again play catch up here on the blog. My future sister-in-law got married over the weekend so I spent much of my weekend at that and let me say, wow what a weekend. Wow, what a wedding. The wedding they planned and pulled off was amazing and it was so beautiful and fun. I even, for literally the first time in my life, danced with my beautiful Kari. Yes, that’s not a typo. I have never danced in my life. Not at a school dance, never.

The Yankees played well over the weekend essentially putting the nail in the coffin of the Orioles season which was always entertaining to watch as well. What a weekend. What a weekend full of fun, family, friends, love and happiness. Just like life is supposed to be, and if you don’t have all those things then you are doing something wrong. Only you can change it and only you can find true happiness, so find it.

Good morning everyone, I hope you all have the very best day. Especially you. HEY YOU. I loves you. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/19: Mariano Rivera Is The All Time Saves Leader

The New York Yankees built a new billion dollar stadium for the 2009 season and on this day in 2011 the Yankees saw their smallest crowd in the three year history of the stadium. Coincidentally this was also the day that the great Mariano Rivera became Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader. The Yankees would beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 on this day as Rivera nailed down his 602nd career save, breaking Trevor Hoffman’s record, retiring Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer, and Chris Parmelee in order.

Also on this day in 2001 Roger Clemens continued to dominate Major League Baseball and the Chicago White Sox in a 6-3 Yankees victory. Clemens would get the victory on the day to improve his record to 20-1 becoming the first pitcher to ever start a season 20-1. Clemens would win his last 16 decisions to reach the feat.