Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Wild Card Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 10/3

Ladies and gentleman the playoffs are so close that I can almost taste it as Yankee Stadium is just about ready to play host to the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound tonight who will be making his first postseason start ever, minor league or Major Leagues, while the Twins counter with Ervin Santana. The game will be played at 8:00 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on ESPN.

Attention Yankees Fans: T-minus one hour until playoff time and I give you one hour to prepare for this challenge. I want Yankee stadium to be as loud as it’s ever been. Ever. Louder than Derek Jeter’s final game. Louder than the 2015 AL Wild Card Game against the Houston Astros. Ever. Get it done. Challenge accepted.

Here are a few key stats for tonight’s game, hence why I put this game thread up an hour before the actual game starts. There’s a lot of information in this post, you have an hour to cram. Good luck and Go Yankees!!!!!

2B Brian Dozier (.269, 34 HRs, 93 RBIs, .853 OPS)
1B Joe Mauer (.305, 7, 71, team-leading 36 doubles, .384 OBP)
SS Jorge Polanco (.256, 13, 74)
LF Eddie Rosario (.290, 27, 78)
DH Miguel Sano (.264, 28, 77)
Kennys Vargas (.253, 11, 41)
Robbie Grossman (.246, 9, 45, .361 OBP)
3B Eduardo Escobar (.254, 21, 73)
CF Byron Buxton (.253, 16, 51, 150 Ks)
RF Max Kepler (.243, 19, 69)
C Jason Castro (.242, 10, 47)

Twins: RH Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA, 167 Ks in 211 1/3 IP)

RH Matt Belisle (2-2, 4.03 ERA, 9/14 saves, .218 opponent batting average)
LH Taylor Rogers (7-3, 3.07, 49 Ks in 55 2/3 IP)
RH Trevor Hildenberger (3-3, 3.21, 44 Ks in 42 IP)
RH Alan Busenitz (1-1, 1.99, 23 Ks in 31 2/3 IP)
RH Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.89, 25 starts, 139 Ks in 145 2/3 IP)
RH Tyler Duffey (2-3, 4.94, 67 Ks in 71 IP)
LH Ryan Pressly (2-3, 4.70, 61 Ks in 61 1/3 IP)

LF Brett Gardner (.264, 21, 63, 96 runs, 23 SBs)
RF Aaron Judge (.284, 52, 114)
C Gary Sanchez (.278, 33, 90)
SS Didi Gregorius (.287, 25, 87)
DH Chase Headley (.273, 12, 61)
Matt Holliday (.231, 19, 64)
2B Starlin Castro (.300, 16, 63)
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.264, 7, 39)
Aaron Hicks (.266, 15, 52)
3B Todd Frazier (.213, 27, 76)
1B Greg Bird (.190, 9, 28)

Yankees: RH Luis Severino (14-8, 2.98, 230 Ks in 193 1/3 IP)

LH Aroldis Chapman (4-3, 3.22, 22/27 saves in 52 games, 69 Ks in 50 1/3 IP)
RH Dellin Betances (3-6, 2.87, 10/13 saves in 66 games, 100 Ks in 50 2/3 IP)
RH David Robertson (9-2, 1.48, 14/16 saves in 61 games)
RH Chad Green (5-0, 1.83, 103 Ks in 69 IP)
RH Tommy Kahnle (2-4, 2.59, 96 Ks in 62 2/3 IP)
RH Adam Warren (3-2, 2.35 in 44 games)
LH Chasen Shreve (4-1, 3.77 in 44 games)
RH Bryan Mitchell (1-1, 5.79 in 20 games)
LH Jaime Garcia (5-10, 4.41 in 27 starts)

The Yankees have beat the Twins in 12 straights games in the postseason.

The Yankees are 89-33 against the Twins since the start of the 2002 season including the postseason.

The last four trips to the postseason for the Twins (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010 ALDS) have ended at the hands of the New York Yankees.

Ervin Santana is a career 6-10 with a 5.66 ERA in 20 career starts against the Yankees.

New York has the AL’s best home record in 2017 going 51-30 inside Yankee Stadium this season. The Twins were 44-37 on the road here in 2017.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, get a playoff win and let’s get headed out to Cleveland to take on those Wahoo’s. Go Yankees!!!

Prediction: The Yankees #TAKE17 with a 9-2 victory. 

2017 Final Set of USA Today Power Rankings

The 2017 MLB regular season is over, 162 games down and depending on what team you root for your team either has 11 or 12 games left to win before they can call it a season. The USA Today doesn’t release power rankings for the postseason though so here is the final set of rankings from the publication for the 2017 season. Where did the Yankees finish and how do the standings directly correlate with the 2017 postseason? Keep reading.

The Cleveland Indians are probably the best team in Major League Baseball and the team finished at the top spot in the final set of standings which is a great sign for Andrew Miller and company. The Houston Astros took the second spot from the Los Angeles Dodgers who finished third overall while the Washington Nationals and the Boston Red Sox rounded out the Top 5.

The Chicago Cubs climbed to the sixth spot overall knocking the Arizona Diamondbacks to seventh while the New York Yankees finished 8th to end the season securing the top Wild Card slot in the American League Playoffs. The 9th best team in the league according to these rankings were the Colorado Rockies while the Minnesota Twins were 10th overall and the final team in the American League playoffs this season.

The Milwaukee Brewers had the best record of any team that didn’t make the postseason and finished 11th overall on the rankings followed by the St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Tampa Bay Rays who were 15th.

The Texas Rangers broke ground on a new $1.1 billion stadium recently but the on-the-field product was only good enough to secure the 16th spot on the rankings while the Seattle Mariners, the Baltimore Orioles, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins who were 20th overall.

The bottom ten teams are not where you want to be but the future is usually bright for all of these teams as these organizations rebuild their farm systems and teams from within. In sequential order from 21-30 the rankings had the Oakland Athletics, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Atlanta Braves, the San Diego Padres, the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Mets, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago White Sox, the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers. Detroit, you’re officially on the clock. 

Wild Card Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 10/3

Ladies and gentleman it is playoff time between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. This is the American League Wild Card Playoff Game and it happens tonight in the Bronx inside Yankee Stadium. The last four times the Minnesota Twins have made the postseason they have faced off with the New York Yankees and the last four times their season has ended at the hands of the Bronx Bombers so here’s to an even five in a row here tonight in the Bronx. The Yankees will send the young right arm of Luis Severino to the mound tonight looking to make it five-straight playoff series victories for the Yankees while the Minnesota Twins will counter with their ace Ervin Santana. Two aces squaring off head-to-head is a fun thing in the regular season to watch but it’s an every night occurrence here in October. THIS IS PLAYOFF BASEBALL.

Severino will make his playoff debut tonight for the Yankees, and that’s for any level and not just at the MLB level. Severino finished the 2017 season strong with a 9-2 record and a 2.28 ERA after the All-Star Break including one start against the Minnesota Twins where the right-hander allowed three runs on five hits in just three innings of work. Severino should be and will have to be much better tonight in the Bronx.

Santana on the other hand will be making his ninth career postseason appearance at the Major League level and his third start in an AL Wild Card Game. Santana also finished the 2017 season strong with a 3.31 ERA in six September starts including one loss to the Yankees in late September.

The game will be played at 8:00 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on ESPN. The winner of tonight’s contest travels to Cleveland to take on the Cleveland Indians while the loser goes home to play golf for the remainder of the winter. I hate golf, but I love winning. It’s all part of being greedy so… need a win…. Get a playoff win. Go Yankees!

Ranking the 2017 Postseason Bullpens

The postseason begins today with the American League and National League Wild Card Rounds set between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins representing the American League while the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies will represent the National League. These four teams are both looking for one thing and one thing only, a victory. Even if that victory means that your team would then have to face the team with the best record in your respective league, it’s the playoffs and anything can happen. A starter can be less than effective, the offense could be lulled to sleep or the bullpen could just be completely and utterly dominant in every sense of the word meaning that anything can happen in a short series. Speaking of the bullpen let’s take a minute this morning to rank the 10 bullpens entering this postseason to see which team potentially has the edge this October.

The Cleveland Indians are the best team in Major League Baseball according to many, including myself, so it would only be fitting that the team has the best bullpen as well, right? You’re waiting for me to say “wrong” but I am not going to because it is the Indians that have the best bullpen in the playoffs in my opinion with closer Cody Allen and former Yankees Nick Goody and Andrew Miller. Bryan Shaw is the Indians answer to Dellin Betances as he leads the team in appearances while not many teams, including the Yankees, can get the ball in the air to hit home runs off Dan Otero. With the short series in the ALDS looming the Indians could also see Danny Salazar and Mike Clevinger join the bullpen in relief, which is borderline unfair for opposing batters if you ask me.

Prepare your rotten tomatoes to be thrown because I am about to do something unthinkable and say that the Boston Red Sox have a better bullpen then the New York Yankees. Yeah, they do. Craig Kimbrel has been the best reliever in all of Major League Baseball this season in my opinion, yes better than Kenley Jansen, while Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly and some dude named David Price have been lights out in the bullpen for Boston. Add in the fact that a couple of the Red Sox starters could be entering the bullpen as well and Boston could have one of the deepest bullpens in the playoffs here in 2017.

Slightly behind the Red Sox are finally your New York Yankees and their bullpen. Trust me, it hurt to put the Bronx Bombers behind the Red Sox but I just had to do it. New York doesn’t know what they can expect out of Adam Warren after returning for the final weekend after missing time with a back issue while Tommy Kahnle is inconsistent at best right now for New York. Dellin Betances has been better but the big right-hander has always had a knack for working himself into trouble and I find it hard to rely on him like I have in years past. Don’t get me wrong, I love this bullpen and if everyone is healthy and pitching to the back of their baseball cards then this bullpen can match with anyone in the league, especially the Red Sox and even the Cleveland Indians, but right now not even me being a massive “homer” can rank this bullpen any higher than third out of ten teams, which isn’t bad at all.

Finally a National League team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Or should I say the Los Angeles Kenley Jansen’s because it has been the Jansen show for LA out in the bullpen this season. Jansen recorded 41 saves here in 2017 including 12 saves that were for more than one inning, something you don’t see a whole lot of here in the game lately. Kenta Maeda is in the bullpen and Alex Wood may be not far behind him for the NLDS as the Dodgers combo of Pedro Baez and Ross Stripling looked shaky down the stretch in September.  

The Arizona Diamondbacks may have the second best bullpen in the National League, who saw that coming when the season started back in April of 2017? Some may argue against having the Diamondbacks this high but what Fernando Rodney did after a slow start to the season, 33 saves in 37 chances with a 2.38 ERA along with a .200 batting average against, did enough to convince me that the Diamondbacks were for real here in 2017. Remember, the Arizona pitching staff is amazing so the Diamondbacks are unlikely to have to rely on their bullpen for four-to-five innings a night like some teams. The plan for Torey Lovullo and company has to be to get seven innings out of their starter before handing the ball to Archie Bradley and then Rodney in the 9th. Bradley pitched to a 1.73 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP this season as the setup man and as a multi-inning arm for the Diamondbacks here in 2017 and will likely be used in the same capacity during this year’s postseason.

The Washington Nationals were thought to have one of the worst bullpens in all of the NL East Division when the season started as the team was without a lockdown closer or much middle relief, but then came the July 31st trade deadline. Before the deadline the Nationals acquired Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler in separate trades which completely transformed their bullpen into a dominating machine. Doolittle is the team’s closer now and converted 21 saves after being acquired by Washington allowing Dusty Baker to use arms like Matt Albers, Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez in early inning situations when needed.

The Chicago Cubs bullpen is a bullpen that I would describe as “good, but not great.” Good will win you games and may even win you a short series with some offensive help behind you but I truly think in a seven-game series a “good, but not great” bullpen will get exposed. Wade Davis is still amazing but it is everyone behind Davis that is suspect, even an emerging Carl Edwards Jr. Justin Wilson is a big strikeout guy while Mike Montgomery and Brian Duensing should be effective against Washington’s left-handed hitters but I don’t think it will matter at the end of the day unfortunately.

The Colorado Rockies are here only because of Greg Holland. The Rockies middle relief has been shaky all season long even after the acquisitions of Pat Neshek and Jake McGee and it will only garner more question marks when rookie starters Antonio Senzatela and Jeff Hoffman join the fold. If the Rockies can just get the ball to Holland though the team has a chance to win every time so that has to be the plan out in Colorado.

The Houston Astros are only in this position because the Minnesota Twins traded away their closer Brandon Kintzler before the July 31st trade deadline. The Astros probably have the shakiest bullpen among all the postseason-bound teams here in 2017 which is evident by their staff ERA of 4.29, 18th best in MLB among all 30 bullpens. Ken Giles was great this season converting 34 of 38 save opportunities but it was the middle relief that is the reason why Giles didn’t get many more saves than that, well that and that high-powered offense.

Finally we have the Minnesota Twins whose bullpen defied the odds after their closer was traded in late July. Matt Belisle is the new closer and has done well all things considered while rookies Trevor Hildenberger and Alan Busenitz have both exceeded expectations in their first years in the bigs respectively. Taylor Rogers has done well as a left-handed specialist for Paul Molitor’s bullpen while the team has been able to patch their way to the postseason without Kintzler. The team’s bullpen can’t be relied upon in my opinion but hey, you can’t predict baseball. Let’s just hope you can tonight in the Bronx.


Good morning everyone and welcome to the 2017 MLB Postseason! I know we have this discussion every single year but I want to have it one more time just for fun. Is the Wild Card Round a playoff game or is it not a playoff game? Some fans say yes, other fans say no so what say you? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section or on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a tweet.

My personal feelings are that the Wild Card Round is in fact a playoff round. Sure it’s only one game but that’s just one of the things that separates MLB from other sports like the NFL or NBA. It doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with it that after 162 games your season should come down to a one-game playoff but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still a piece of the MLB playoff bracket.

Either way I have a date tonight with a beautiful blonde and the New York Yankees so I couldn’t be more excited regardless of whether this is a playoff game or not. Enjoy your day, enjoy the game and Go Yankees because we’re back in the playoffs!!


This Day in New York Yankees History 10/3: Wild Card Winners

As we learned yesterday in this same series the New York Yankees and the Colorado Rockies became the first ever set of Wild Card winning teams when a fourth playoff team was added to the mix. On this day in 1995 the first American League and National League Division Series were played with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, and the Atlanta Braves winning the first ever games.

Also on this day in 1947 in Game 4 of the World Series the Yankees pitcher Bill Bevens came within one out of pitching the first no-hitter in World Series history. Cookie Lavagetto of the Dodgers came up with two outs in the ninth to pinch hit for Eddie Stanky and hit a two out double. The Dodgers would miraculously come back to win the game 3-2.