Friday, October 20, 2017

ALCS Game 6 Thread: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros

Finally…. The Yankees….. are back…… in primetime. But seriously, those back-to-back 5:00 pm ET starts had to be brutal for most. I was just walking in the door by that time so it worked out for me but still, I know not everyone was so fortunate. Get it together MLB schedule makers, damn. Anyway before I get too off topic the New York Yankees enter Minute Maid Park tonight just one win away from the 2017 World Series, standing in their way are Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. This should be an awesome, entertaining and fun matchup for all as Luis Severino takes the mound for the Yankees after an injury scare in Game 2. The game will be played at 8:00 pm ET inside Minute Maid Park in Houston and can be seen on FOX Sports One. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into either the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman or by tuning into ESPN Radio.

Follow us on twitter to interact with us during the game and keep up to date with us all season long by giving @GreedyStripes a follow. Enjoy the game, need a win so let’s punch this ticket and not worry about another game tomorrow, and get a win! Go Yankees!

Prediction: Yankees win 9-1… because no one is afraid of Justin Verlander.

ALCS Game 6 Preview: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros

So will the New York Yankees head to the World Series tonight or will there be a Game 7 in Houston tomorrow night? If I had a crystal ball and if I could tell the future things would be a whole lot different in my life right now but I digress. Before the series started I had the Yankees winning the series in six games and I had them specifically beating Houston because of their lack of a bullpen (check) and because the team has been historically good against Justin Verlander throughout his career. Are the stars aligning today for the self-proclaimed Yankees Wizard to notch another one in his predictive win column? Tune in tonight to find out. In the game tonight the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound looking to punch the Yankees ticket into the postseason while the Astros will counter with Justin Verlander. Let’s freaking do this!!!!

Severino was removed from his start in Game Two of this series for precautionary reasons. As the Yankees fan base and organization held their collective breath Severino threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and reported no issues. Severino looked sharp before being removed from his Game 2 start and will look to pick up where he left off tonight in Houston.

Verlander pitched a complete-game shutout in Game 2 of the series against the Yankees giving his Houston Astros a 2-0 lead in the series. That feels like ages ago for Houston who is now one loss away from playing golf for the remainder of the winter. If Verlander pitches like he did in Game Two though, zero runs allowed on five hits with 13 strikeouts, we may be seeing a Game 7 tomorrow night.

The game will be played at 8:00 pm ET inside Minute Maid Park in Houston and can be seen on Fox Sports One. Need a win, just one more win for a return to the World Series, so get that win. No Game 7, only champagne and a presumed trip to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Go Yankees!

The Dawn of Something Great?...

October Baseball is on our Minds...

Everyone is talking like the New York Yankees are already in the World Series but I do not view (potentially) two games in Houston against the Astros to be a cakewalk.  Tonight, the Yankees send their best (Luis Severino) against crafty veteran Justin Verlander who is very clearly a big game pitcher.  If the Astros win tonight, they have to be viewed as the favorite for Game 7 in Minute Maid Park.  We’re not in the Bronx anymore. But the Yankees have already defeated the best team in the American League in a best-of-five series and they are a single game away from reaching the Fall Classic.  This Yankees team has incredible heart and a 'no-quit' drive like none other.  

Regardless of what happens, I am very proud of the 2017 Yankees.  Going into the season, it seemed like the experts were forecasting a .500 season at best.  It was unclear if Aaron Judge or Aaron Hicks would win the right field job.  Questions were abound about whether Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia had seen their better days.  Or if Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius could continue their development in the middle infield.  I was one of many uncertain if Luis Severino's stronger future was in the starting rotation or the bullpen. The Yankees answered those questions (and more) and now stand one game away from the World Series.  There is nothing that the Houston Astros can do to take away from the huge accomplishments achieved by the Yankees.  This is a young team that is only going to get better.  As the saying goes, 'the future is so bright, I’ve got to wear shades!'

If the Yankees do make it to the World Series, they’ll be heading to Los Angeles next week.  The Los Angeles Dodgers dethroned the Chicago Cubs last night to win the NLCS, 4 games to 1.  The Dodgers throttled the Cubs, 11-1, behind the power of their utility outfielder.  Enrique “Kik√©” Hernandez put his name into the history books with three home runs and seven RBI’s as the Dodgers coasted to the victory behind the three-hit, one-run pitching of the great Clayton Kershaw over seven innings and three innings of scoreless relief from the bullpen.  Kenley Jansen, the closer, is a stud, but where did Brandon Morrow come from?  The one-time former closer of the Seattle Mariners and ex-Blue Jay has been ‘lights out’ for the Dodgers.  He was 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA in 45 games this year, and in 4 games against the Cubs in the NLCS, he allowed only one hit, a walk, and no runs over 4 2/3 innings while striking out seven.  There won’t be too many late inning rallies against the Dodgers.

Credit:  Wally Skalij-Los Angeles Times
For the Dodgers, their ten consecutive appearances in the post-season without a championship is the longest streak in MLB history. During that time, the Dodgers have been defeated in the NLCS four times, including last year on the very field they spilled champagne last night.  This makes their eleventh appearance in post-season play since they defeated the Oakland A’s in the 1988 World Series. 

Credit:  Wally Skalij-Los Angeles Times
Growing up watching the Yankees-Dodgers World Series (three times over five years from 1977 to 1981), it is very exciting and intriguing to think the Yankees might finally have the chance to avenge their loss in the 1981 World Series.  Ironically, the 1981 Dodgers also had to get past the Houston Astros (in the NLDS) to reach the World Series.  They defeated the Montreal Expos in the NLCS that year.  The 1981 World Series was also the time when Owner George Steinbrenner allegedly got into an altercation with two Dodgers fans in the elevator of a Los Angeles hotel.  Steinbrenner told reporters, “I clocked them.  There are two guys in this town looking for their teeth and two guys who will probably sue me”.  Steinbrenner was not sued and the two guys were never identified.  Who knows if Steinbrenner really faced anyone in that elevator but the Yankees finally have the chance for redemption in the City of Angels if they can win one more game against the Astros (just one, let’s do it!).  I am sure that the Boss would be very pleased.

Credit:  Heinz Kluetmeier for Sports Illustrated

The Managerial Musical Chairs…

The MLB Post-Season has certainly not stopped other teams from taking action, or at the very least, talking action.

The Detroit Tigers are expected to announce former Twins manager and current Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire as their manager later today (replacing the fired Brad Ausmus).

Ausmus remains a candidate for the job to replace John Farrell in Boston as the Red Sox manager, however, all reports indicate that current Astros bench coach Alex Cora is the likely choice.  Cora is certainly getting a firsthand view of what he may be facing next year. 

Credit:  Houston Chronicle
No word on the open jobs with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets, but former Yankees and current Mets hitting coach Kevin Long has emerged as a favorite for the post in Queens. 

I personally think that it is a shame for current Chicago Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez hasn't gotten stronger consideration for managerial openings.

It remains to be seen if Yankees manager Joe Girardi returns next year.  While one would think that it is a foregone conclusion that Girardi will be back with a new agreement in hand, it is also possible that family considerations could cause Girardi to walk away.  I think the latter is a greater possibility if the Yankees lose the ALCS to the Astros.  I continue to hope that Girardi and the Steinbrenner family come together on a new deal.  I honestly do not see a better alternative currently available. 

Have a great Friday!  Like last night, let’s hope the road team is pouring champagne in the visitor’s clubhouse after the game.  Go Yankees!

Tommy Kahnle is 2009 Damaso Marte

I told you guys I was feeling all nostalgic this morning and I wasn’t kidding. While I was doing some research for the “So it Seems…” post this morning a light bulb went off in my head when I was looking at the Yankees roster from 2009. There was one name that stood out and not necessarily all for good reasons either. Remember back in 2009 down the stretch when manager Joe Girardi would continue to run out Damaso Marte night in and night out despite him struggling for much of the 2009 season? Many thought Joe was crazy, including myself, until Damaso found the switch in the postseason and became absolutely dominant and unhittable? That kind of sounds like someone else on the 2017 Yankees squad doesn’t it. Remember how bad Tommy Kahnle pitched after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a pre-July 31st trade? Where would the Yankees be right now without Kahnle’s contributions this postseason? Let’s analyze and compare.

Marte’s Regular Season Stats for 2009:
Standard Pitching

Marte’s 2009 Postseason Stats:
Postseason Pitching
Year Series Rslt Opp W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9

Kahnle’s 2017 Yankees Stats:
Standard Pitching
Kahnle’s 2017 Postseason Stats:
Postseason Pitching
Year Lg Series Opp W L W-L% ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9

It is like night and day, except these two stat lines are still eerily similar. I mean Kahnle was better than Marte was during the regular season but Kahnle also had a smaller sample size. Kahnle struggled down the stretch and seemingly was close to falling out of favor with Girardi before erupting in the postseason. It is funny how that works out sometimes, huh? If Kahnle wants to be the 2017 version of Damaso Marte back in 2009, more power to him. Just bring me a ring! I thought this was an interesting comparison and I wanted to bring it to you this morning to read. Enjoy and enjoy your Friday!

So it Seems… 2009

The New York Yankees are one win away from making a return trip to the World Series for the first time since 2009. With that in mind I am feeling a little nostalgic this morning so I decided to take a look back, waaaaaaay back, to the World and the Yankees back in the old days of 2009.

In 2009 I had zero children. While I would have my first son five months after the New York Yankees would win the World Series it is hard for me to imagine a life now without my children in it.

In 2009 the Yankees steamrolled through everyone in the postseason with veteran players on huge contracts. Players like CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez. Now the team is doing it with youth, aggression, and a demeanor that cannot and will not be stopped.

The team was in year one of a $1.1 billion stadium that no one sat in or attended. Now it seems, at least during the postseason, that the new Yankee Stadium is finally starting to find its voice. Also it seems like maybe a ghost or two has bitten the bullet and made the trip over.

I was a 23-year old know-it-all in 2009. Now I’m a 31-year old know-it-all. Some things never change.

In 2009 I didn’t know you, and that is the biggest tragedy of them all. HEY YOU. It only took me eight more years to find you, but I did and that’s all that matters. I love you!

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/20: Hell Freezes Over

On this day in 2004, Yankees fans close your eyes, the Boston Red Sox completed their historic comeback winning the ALCS is Game 7 after being down 3-0 to the New York Yankees. I think we all remember the Johnny Damon grand slam that pretty much sealed our fates, no?

Also on this day in 1964, just three days after resigning from the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals managers job, Johnny Keane signs on to replace Yogi Berra as the New York Yankees manager.

Finally on this day in 1931 the Commerce Comet Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. Mantle was named after major league catcher Mickey Cochran with his dad not realizing that Cochran's real name is Gordon, not Mickey.