Friday, September 21, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/21

And just like that it is game time here in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. In the first of this three-game weekend set the Yankees will send out CC Sabathia to the mound to face off with Yefrey Ramirez for the Orioles. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX channel 11 in New York and on MASN in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app, and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the New York Yankees all season long. Enjoy the game, make Buck cry again, and go Yankees!!

John Smoltz Has a Pretty Damn Good Idea To Fix Major League Baseball

Let me preface this post by saying that John Smoltz is not my favorite person, nor was he my favorite player while he was with the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves. I think he is cocky and arrogant, but he is also one of the smarter minds in Major League Baseball despite it all. I am willing to give credit where credit is due, and Smoltz had a pretty damn good idea to “fix” and revolutionize baseball for the better. Smoltz wants Major League Baseball to adopt a similar schedule and policy that is already in place for Minor League Baseball, especially for the postseason.

Smoltz had many ideas actually to fix baseball, but the idea that most caught my eye was his idea to make September baseball and the postseason pennant races meaningful again. The way it is now basically every race for the postseason is all but decided and has been for quite some time now. The days of going down to the last day of the season to decide a winner seem to be all but over in Major League Baseball and Smoltz has an idea to change that by implementing first-half and second-half winners.

Smoltz wants to eliminate interleague play and go back to every team playing the same schedule, thus in the process dumping rivalry series with the hopes of bringing back pennant races again. Smoltz hopes that with this change the fans and the game would see more drama come to the game while the number of teams tanking for draft picks and such could also go down. This isn’t a new concept, the whole split-season schedule thing, as MLB did this back in 1981 after the baseball strike, so the idea is not as out of left field as you may think. Minor League Baseball is already doing it and it could create a lot more interest at the Major League level if this was to be implemented.

If MLB adopted this proposal the Oakland Athletics would be playing the Houston Astros to determine the winner of the American League West as Houston had the better record in the first half, while the A’s had the better record in the second half. The Tampa Bay Rays, who aren’t going to make the playoffs in 2018, would face off with the Boston Red Sox. The St. Louis Cardinals would face the Chicago Cubs and the Colorado Rockies would face the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Los Angeles Dodgers would be sitting at home come October. What happens if you win both halves? You get a first-round bye. Simple enough.

This would change the whole dynamic of the game, and not just the playoff pennant races. Why would teams sell off as heavily at the trade deadlines if they thought they had a chance to compete in the second half? Also, why would teams continue to push to win 110 games or more in a season when there is no advantage to it other than a possible first-round bye? September call-ups would be all-the-more interesting with most teams still locked into a potential second half pennant race and the overall number of games being played would have to be dropped from 162 games to 154 games, something the MLB Players Association wanted anyway.

The players win, the owners win, the league wins, and the fans win. So, what’s stopping this from happening?

Red Sox Celebrate on Sacred Ground...

Photo Credit: AP (Julio Cortez)
Boston wins third consecutive AL East Championship in the Bronx…

I am not going to lie…I am pissed.  We allowed the Boston Red Sox to celebrate on Yankee Stadium soil and that should have never happened.  The Yankees won two of three games from the 2018 AL East Champions, and I can’t find any joy because they mailed in the third game after winning the first two to give the Red Sox the win they needed to claim the division championship.  I was happy they pinned the 49th loss of the season on Boston after Wednesday’s win (to prevent any chance of the Sox matching the win total of the 1998 Yankees), but they really could have swept this series and forced Boston to ship the champagne to their next destination. 

Everybody is so quick to talk about how awful the Red Sox bullpen is but in last night’s bullpen matchup, Boston had the difference-maker in Steven Wright with three innings of scoreless relief.  The Yankees helped eject Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez out of the game in the fourth inning after he had thrown 100 pitches.  Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree relieved Rodriguez and was greeted by Giancarlo Stanton’s grand slam which temporarily gave the Yankees a 6-4 lead, but from there, the Yankees could only get two more hits and were unable to put any further runs on the board against Wright, Ryan Brasier, and Craig Kimbrel.  Meanwhile, the Sox teed off on Chad Green, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman.  I can’t really blame Green or Betances.  They are the guys I probably would have brought in during those situations, but I think it was very foolish to bring in a rusty Aroldis Chapman with the Yankees trailing by only two runs.  The three-run homer by Mookie Betts off Chapman in the eighth inning pretty much iced the game for the Red Sox and prepared the champagne bottles for uncorking. 

I disagreed with manager Aaron Boone’s decision to bring in Justus Sheffield during Wednesday night’s game too.  Sure, Top Sheff evaded a self-created bases-loaded jam to end the game, but the Yankees were playing MLB’s winningest baseball team and the psychology of the game and beating Boston is important.  If you bring anybody in when you are leading by nine runs, it should have been Chapman and not Sheffield.  I would have eased Chapman back into the fold before placing him into a high leverage situation.  I was not surprised that Betts clubbed the homer off Chappy. Just like Aaron Judge is currently only producing hard outs and missing the mistake pitches, it takes time to get back up to speed.  Baseball is not a forgiving sport.

Photo Credit: NJ Advance Media (Andrew Mills)

I am still supportive of Aaron Boone despite my frustrations with his decisions over the last few days so I know I am just venting.  I would have played last night’s game to win which means that Chapman would not have made an appearance, nor would have any of the rookies currently on the staff.  After Betances, I would have lived or died with Zach Britton to the end. 

What really made yesterday so disappointing was the other primary Wild Card contender, the Oakland A’s, crushed their opponent.  GM Billy Eppler’s Los Angeles Angels must have felt they were playing the Los Angeles Rams after the A’s decisive 21-3 thrashing.  The Yankees hold a slim 1 ½ game lead on the A’s after yesterday’s results, but the scary part is the Yankees now face a losing team that they seemingly cannot beat (the Baltimore Orioles), the high-flying Tampa Bay Rays, and a rematch with the Red Sox at Fenway Park for the final ten games of the regular season.  I am not saying they have it easy, but the A’s play weaker opponents.  Three games in Oakland against the disappointing Minnesota Twins, three games in Seattle against the fading Mariners, and three games in Anaheim against the team they just drubbed by 18 runs in yesterday’s game.  In my opinion, it is Advantage A’s. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Thearon W Henderson)

A ‘one and done’ Wild Card game in Oakland. From my perspective, that’s where the Yankees stand right now with the way things are unfolding in the American League.  Well, at least CC Sabathia can catch up with friends and family in the area before he heads home to clean out his locker at Yankee Stadium for perhaps the final time.

As always, I hope the team proves me wrong.  But as I’ve said before, that’s on them, not me.  I want the Yankees to win but I am just not feeling it right now.  I am not convinced the Yankees can beat the A’s and I am certainly not convinced the team can beat the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians or Boston Red Sox should they advance.  They certainly have the talent, but for a team that has been average at best for an extended period, they can’t just flip a switch to turn it on.  The Yankees need to make the next ten games count and carry momentum into the Wild Card game.  Otherwise, we’ll be watching the final season of Game of Thrones before the Yankees have another chance for the crown. 

Hopefully the team can return to its winning ways tonight against Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles.  This series represents perhaps the final time that we’ll see the former Yankees manager in the O’s dugout.  For as much as I’ve disliked Buck at times during his post-Yankees career, I am a little saddened about the way the 2018 season has treated him.  To reach 50 wins, Buck’s team needs to win six of its final ten games.  That’s a tall order for the 108-loss team, but then again, they have three games against a team they’ve fared well against.  You know that Buck would like nothing better than to beat the Yankees for his farewell song. 

As the saying goes, sometimes the best trade is the one that you don’t make.  Last off-season, everybody was clamoring for the Yankees to acquire Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers.  Fulmer had a disastrous 2018 season.  He was 3-12 with 4.69 ERA in 132 1/3 innings.  He gave up 128 hits and career-high 19 home runs.  Done for the season, Fulmer was diagnosed with meniscus damage in his right knee on Monday and underwent surgery yesterday.  He is still a young, controllable pitcher but unless the Yankees can get him at a severe discount, it would not be worth the investment.  If the Yankees had paid Detroit’s asking price last winter, we’d have nothing to show for it today.  Fulmer is expected to be ready for Spring Training but Detroit’s best move would be to wait for Fulmer to rebuild his trade value before considering any offers.

It’s up to CC Sabathia (7-7, 3.80 ERA) to get the Baltimore series off to the right start tonight.  He’ll be opposed by former Yankees prospect Yefry Ramirez (1-6, 5.50 ERA).  This is a winnable game.  Boone, make the right decisions.  Gary Sanchez, hold the door…hold the door!  Luke Voit, just keep on doing what you are doing, chest hair and all.  Let’s do this.  

Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/21

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles will begin a three-game weekend set in the Bronx tonight with the Yankees have everything to lose and the Orioles in the position to be the spoiler. Do not let your guard down, and do not give Buck Showalter a reason to sleep well this weekend. In the opener of the series the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound to face off with former Yankees farmhand Yefrey Ramirez for the Orioles. Let’s get to it here in the Bronx.

Sabathia heads into the start tonight fresh off the shortest start of his 2018 season where he lasted just 2.1 inning pitched against the Toronto Blue Jays. In the start CC allowed five runs on seven hits including three home runs in a loss for New York. Sabathia has not pitched well against the Orioles this season posting a 0-1 record with a 6.00 ERA. 

Ramirez has made three appearances for the Orioles against the Yankees since being traded to Baltimore in 2017 and has posted a 0-2 record with a 7.50 ERA. Ramirez has made two starts in those three appearances and one relief appearance, the relief outing coming on August 26 where the righty allowed no runs and just one hit in three innings of work.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX channel 11 in New York and on MASN in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app, and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, Yefry don’t make me miss you, and go Yankees!!

Hello… Yankees Peaking?

Good morning Yankees family and welcome back to the blog. Are the New York Yankees peaking at just the right time? This weekend will be a good indicator of that, but after a good series with the Boston Red Sox I have to admit that I am once again getting cautiously optimistic over here. With the returns of Aaron Judge and Aroldis Chapman, among others, along with the additions of Justus Sheffield, Luke Voit, and others the feel of this team feels a whole lot different. I mean, take the game Wednesday night for instance. Luke Voit hit two Yankee Stadium home runs, Aaron Judge was all over the base paths and in the dugout hyping everyone up, Luis Severino looked to be back to being the Yankees ace, David Price still sucks, Sheffield got his MLB debut out of the way despite obvious nerves, and the Yankees obliterated the Red Sox. You don’t think the Red Sox were motivated to clinch on Yankee Stadium’s field? They had to be. The true test will be this weekend against a team they should sweep and/or easily handle. Will they? Stay tuned…

Hey you. I love you.

This Day in New York Yankees History 9/21: Goodbye to Yankee Stadium

The New York Yankees announced that 2008 would be the final season of the House that Ruth Built as a new billion dollar stadium was nearing completion across the street. Yankee Stadium III, or the House that Jeter Built, was set to be used for the 2009 season and on this day the Yankees said goodbye to the old stadium as they played their final game of the season in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles in the last game 7-3 with Julia Ruth Stevens, the daughter of Babe Ruth, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Derek Jeter and teammates stood on the mound after the game and bid farewell to Yankee Stadium in front of 54,610 fans in attendance.