Saturday, September 22, 2018

Remembering My 2018 Predictions: Mariano Rivera Award & Trevor Hoffman Award

The original post was written on March 22, 2018 and it outlined my prediction for the Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman Award winners. The Mariano Rivera Award goes to the best relief pitcher in the American League while the Trevor Hoffman Award goes to the best relief pitcher in the National League respectively. My predictions had Ken Giles of the Astros winning in the American League (and promptly punching himself in the face in celebration for it) while the National League winning was Wade Davis of the Colorado Rockies. What a tough day at the plate for me as I put up an 0-3 in my predictions. Tomorrow is another day for baseball though, that’s the beautiful thing about playing a game basically every day. 

Prediction Season is here at The Greedy Pinstripes and with the Division winners and Wild Card winners announced, the postseason done, and the New York Yankees named the World Series Champions for the 2018 season we will switch directly into awards season. Contrary to some beliefs the relief pitchers in Major League Baseball have their own award at the end of the season, the Mariano Rivera Award for the best relief pitcher in the American League and the Trevor Hoffman Award for the best reliever in the National League. Now I am not trying to incite a riot here or really even spark up a debate, although feel free to debate in the comments section or on Twitter by sending @GreedyStripes a tweet, but for that reason (both these awards and the American League and National League Cy Young Awards that we will cover at a later time) I feel like these pitchers should be disqualified from the running for AL and NL MVP awards. I just do, sorry. Without kicking the hornets’ nest any more let’s take a look at my predictions for the Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman Award winners for the 2018 season. 

The New York Yankees and their closer Aroldis Chapman are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes down to awards like the Mariano Rivera Award for the best reliever in the league. The Yankees have the best problem a manager can have, too many qualities relievers, too many relievers with closing experience, and too many weapons at one manager’s disposal to be able to single-handedly point out and showcase just one of them. For that reason, I cannot pick a Yankee to win the award, but instead I will choose a member of the team that knocked out the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS, the Houston Astros closer Ken Giles. Giles should have the most opportunities of any closer in the American League to nail down a save, and with the Astros offense behind him the right-hander should have a bit of wiggle room if he were to have an off night. These awards generally go to a pitcher on a winning team, for obvious reasons, so why not the closer on the team that I predicted to be tied for the most wins in the American League in 2018? Just makes sense to me. 

The Colorado Rockies built what the organization hopes to be a “Super Bullpen” during the offseason before the 2018 season and those efforts will yield great results for a team starved of quality pitching. The team has a staff of young starters with tons of upside, but it will be the bullpen’s ability to turn every game into a six-or-seven inning contest that will separate the team from the pack and keep the club in a lot of games that they normally wouldn’t have won. At the helm of this bullpen will be the Rockies closer, former Cubs fireballer Wade Davis. Davis should enjoy the lack of pressure pitching for the Rockies as opposed to pitching with the Cubs in recent seasons which should show not only on the field, but in his stat line as well. The fact that Colorado has also added big arms to help him like Bryan Shaw will only help Davis succeed giving him less innings to “mop up” and less jams to get out of, which could subsequently wear a pitcher down and inflate his stat line just a bit. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/22

And just like that it is game time here in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. In the middle game of this three-game weekend set the Yankees will send Lance Lynn to the mound to face off with David Hess for the Orioles. The game will be played at 4:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network locally, MASN in the Baltimore area, and MLB Network nationally. 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 on WFAN.

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, Hess is a gas station and not a pitcher in my eyes… and go Yankees!!

Remembering My 2018 Predictions: Managers of the Year

The original post was written on March 23, 2018 and it outlined my prediction that Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals and Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants would both win the American League and National League Managers of the Year Awards in their respective leagues. El wrongo, againo. 

Entering the weekend, the Kansas City Royals sat at 52-101 in last place in the American League Central Division race, a mere 33.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians. Meanwhile the Giants, after spending a ton of money and prospects acquiring Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen and others, find themselves entering the weekend with a 72-81 record, 13 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.  

So far, we have predicted the New York Yankees winning their division en route to a World Series victory while the Washington Nationals will come up just a little short in Bryce Harper’s last hurrah. We have predicted a couple movements in the power rankings with strong showings this season by the Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies, and we even predicted who would win the prestigious Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman Awards for the best relief pitcher in both of their respective leagues. None of that could be possible for any of these players or any of these teams though without a good manager, which is why the next award we will be predicting is the Manager of the Year Awards for the 2018 season.  

So, you would think since I specifically mentioned the Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies not only in my previous paragraph but in my standings prediction as well that I would automatically go to that well again here for my managers prediction, right? Wrong! I like to shake things up a bit, and I don’t like to be predictable with my predictions, so keep reading. 

Once again, in my opinion, the New York Yankees have everything working against them here with another major award. Sure, the team has a new manager in Aaron Boone and sure, the team has a young nucleus of players that could get younger with the call ups of Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, but the team is almost too good for their own good if you know what I mean. If the Yankees don’t win the World Series in 2018 it will be a huge disappointment to many, but if they do I can see many fans, writers and voters coming out with a feeling that they almost expected it. Like the Yankees are once again supposed to win every game, you know? So, sorry Aaron. I can’t see you winning the AL Manager of the Year Award, even if you should. Instead, that award will go to the Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost who will keep his team in the hunt for a playoff spot until the final week of the regular season, all without a major part of his core and his team that all left to free agency this winter. 

In the National League I have to go with the manager of the San Francisco Giants, Bruce Bochy. Bochy is nearing the end of his managerial career in my opinion and this may be Boche’s last true shot at not only this award, but at a World Series championship as well. Last season the Giants were horrible finishing with a 64-98 record, which was good for dead last in the National League West Division. I don’t feel like with just the additions of Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson that the team will be strides better than they were in 2017, but I also don’t believe that the likes of Jeff Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and others can be as bad as they were in 2017 either. I think it will be a team effort and a collective effort that will not only bring the team back to the postseason, but it will also bring Boche an NL Manager of the Year Award as well. 

Boonie & The Bullpen Blunders...

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Yanks hang on for narrow win over O’s…

Maybe I am just a realist but I am struggling to find great positives with the 2018 New York Yankees and their ability to go deep into the playoffs. Time and again, manager Aaron Boone shows an inability to make the right bullpen decisions.  Sure, I could have blind love and just take the approach that the team is going to plow through October opponents until proven otherwise, but that’s not me.  

John O’Connell, @jacko2323 on Twitter, posted this comment last night:

Every Yankees postgame interview is “Look out for us!  We’re about to break loose!  Our offense will explode in the playoffs.”  It’s September 21st.  The Red Sox have already clinched the AL East and your struggling to beat the Orioles.

I agree with this statement.  Jack-O went on to tweet:

The A’s are going to beat the Yankees like a drum in the Wildcard game and Boone and every Yankee will give a postgame interview talking about how close they are to breaking out.

Again, I agree.  I know that Jack-O is a disillusioned Yankees fan.  He is a friend of Bill Simmons, a noted Red Sox fan, and frequently appears on his podcasts, but I find truth in Jack-O’s words even if many Yankees fans take offense.  Just because the Yankees made it to the seventh game of the ALCS last year and seemingly have a better team this year does not mean they are going to the World Series.  Other teams got better too including the Boston Red Sox despite their leaky bullpen.  The players have talked about how great this team will be when it gets on a roll but, after the early season run, we have yet to see it.  And it is now September 22nd.

The Yankees should have easily beat the Baltimore Orioles last night.  Unfortunately, they had to hold on for the 10-8 victory after more foolish bullpen decisions by Aaron Boone.  I am not sure why A.J. Cole is still on the Yankees roster, other than the September roster expansion.  When the Yankees need to make off-season roster decisions, making room for the guys on the 60-day DL and the Rule 5 eligible prospects worth keeping, Cole has to go. There’s no doubt Cole should be left off the playoff roster.

The Yankees have yet to show me they are cranking on all cylinders.  Sure, there’s still time but the days are going by fast.  The end of the regular season is a week from Sunday.  It seems like every time the Yankees take two steps forward, they take a step back.  Meanwhile, The Red Sox and Astros are cruising to the finish line.  Honestly, the Yankees are lucky that the Tampa Bay Rays didn’t start heating up earlier in the season.  The Yankees’ magic number to secure a Wild Card spot is only two games but right now the Rays are playing better than the Yankees.  The upcoming series in Tampa will be difficult.  The Rays probably will have no chance of catching the Yankees by then and might be out of it altogether, but I am sure those are going to be tough games.  If the Rays do not make the playoffs, beating the Yankees in their final regular season series between the two teams will be their “playoff” even if the prize is only bragging rights for Rays players and fans.  

I guess it could be worse.  The Los Angeles Dodgers recaptured first place in the NL West with their sweep of the Colorado Rockies earlier this week only to lose last night to the 92-loss San Diego Padres.  The Dodgers still hold a slim 1 1/2 game lead (same as the Yankees’ lead over the Oakland A’s for the top WC slot) so both teams need to win the majority of these final games.  I guess the stakes may be higher for the Dodgers.  If they lose the division, they most likely lose out on making the playoffs.  Their record presently matches the St Louis Cardinals for the second WC in the National League behind the Milwaukee Brewers so they cannot afford to lose.

If the Yankees win the AL Wild Card game, it will be a new season. But until then, I will have my doubts about this team’s ability to rise to the challenge.  I am tired of seeing poor decisions made every game.  Could I do better than Boone?  Hell no, but I don’t get paid to make the right decisions nor do I have the experience in the game like he does.  Aaron Boone and Company are the ones depositing the Steinbrenner family’s money into their bank accounts.  I like Aaron Boone but he has to do better.  The 2018 season depends upon it.

The best thing the Yankees can do is make me eat my words.  I am okay with that.

I’ve felt that Orioles manager Buck Showalter would be dismissed at the end of the season for a couple of months but the words I read yesterday seem to indicate it is nearly guaranteed he will be fired.  For as much as I have disliked Buck at times during his post-Yankees career, I am feeling so saddened this may be the end of the line for the former Yankees manager.  I can’t really explain why I feel that way.  It’s unfortunate that Buck was unable to guide a team to a championship during his managerial career.  Other managers benefited from his path in both New York and Arizona.  In this day and age of young, amiable (press-friendly), inexperienced, and analytics-driven managers, it seems improbable that Buck will get another opportunity.  It really does not seem that long ago that Buck was playing first base and the outfield for the Yankees’ then Double A farm team in Nashville. I can still remember a few of his games so vividly.  

Whatever happens with Buck, I wish him the best as life moves forward.  Now, if he wants to lose the next two games, that’s fine by me. 

I know it’s a little early to make free agent predictions, but Bleacher Report ran a column on Thursday to take an early look at one realistic free agent for each team.  The reason it bothered me is the writer (Jacob Shafer) has the Yankees signing Dallas Keuchel, with Patrick Corbin going to the Milwaukee Brewers.  Ugh!  I do not want Keuchel on the Yankees.  I am hopeful the Yankees make an all-out attempt to bring Corbin to the Bronx.  The writer also has the Boston Red Sox signing David Robertson which is also something I’d really hate to see.  I love David Cone but there’s a part of me that is still bothered by the fact he wore a Red Sox uniform at the end of his career.  Same with David Wells.  I hope D-Rob does not go down that path.  The writer predicts J.A. Happ will sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a replacement for Corbin.  I think Happ has done enough to warrant a new contract in Pinstripes.  Sorry CC, but for a few million more, Happ makes so much more sense for the 2019 Yankees.  Sabathia is predicted by B/R to sign with the Oakland A’s.  That’s a move I would not be opposed to since Sabathia grew up in nearby Vallejo, CA and he’d be able to exit the game in front of his hometown friends and family.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Mike Stobe)

Speaking of Happ, the Yankees seem to be lining him up to pitch the Wild Card game on October 3rd.  He’ll make the start against the O’s tomorrow.  I had thought I wanted Masahiro Tanaka to pitch the Wild Card game but his start against the Red Sox eroded some of my confidence.  Luis Severino is pitching better but I am still not convinced he is the man to face the bruising A’s lineup.  Happ makes as much sense as any of them.  In a do-or-die one game playoff, everybody needs to be ready to contribute.  The only question is whether Aaron Boone will make the right bullpen choices.  I guess we’ll find out on October 3rd.  

Hopefully we’ll have a less stressful game and a Yankees win later today.  The opposing pitcher is 3-10 with 5.22 ERA (David Hess).  We should not lose this game.  Hopefully, the gritty Lance Lynn (9-10, 4.90 ERA) ensures that it does not happen.  

Go Yankees!

Remembering My 2018 Predictions: Comeback Players of the Year

The original post was written below on March 23, 2018 stating that Tim Lincecum and David Wright would win the American League and National League Comeback Player of the Year Awards for their respective leagues. Boy, what a good war to start off my prediction recaps… WRONG! 

Lincecum was released by the Texas Rangers on June 5th after his rehab clock for a blister problem that popped up in Spring Training ran out. No one else signed Lincecum for the 2018 season and his career is likely over after another failed comeback attempt. David Wright will play in one last game for the Mets, his only game of the season, before calling it a career and retiring at the end of the season. I went bold, and unfortunately being bold backfired on this one. Maybe on the next prediction.  

The Comeback Player of the Year Award is generally given to a player who has not only a great season but has a great story behind their great season. For example, if a player misses a bulk of the previous season or seasons due to injury they are generally a candidate for the award if they come back the next season and have a strong season. Remember when Bartolo Colon basically came out of retirement for the New York Yankees only to shock the baseball world by showing that he could not only still pitch, but still pitch effectively at the Major League level? Or remember last season when Greg Holland returned from missing the 2016 season with Tommy John surgery to lead the National League for a chunk of the seasons in saves in 2017? Those are the kind of stories that win you a Comeback Player of the Year Award, and here are my 2018 stories. 

I know I am reaching way out in left field on this one, but you almost have to with any of these sorts of predictions at this stage in the year. No one knows who is going to come back healthy, and nobody knows who is going to be the “next big thing” in Major League Baseball. So why not go bold? Why not predict that Tim Lincecum will not only make the Major League roster at some point in the 2017 season with the pitching-starved Texas Rangers, but why not predict that he will do well for the team in whatever role they use him in? It could happen, and according to my predictions it will happen. The Freak is back, likely as a reliever, and he wants some more hardware for his shelves at home. 

The National League version was a little harder to come up with, so I decided to go bold once again in predicting that David Wright finally makes his way back onto the field with the New York Mets. At this point Wright doesn’t even have to be all that effective to earn to award, the story in itself of him working his way back to the Major League level would be story enough. Wright is currently working on trying to get back to the Mets after undergoing shoulder surgery in September of 2017 and an additional surgery on his lower back in October of 2017. Currently at the time of this writing Wright has been shut down from baseball activities for at least eight weeks, but if the Mets former third baseman can make it back by June or July he would easily be the story of the second half around Major League Baseball.---

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/22

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles will continue their three-game weekend set today with the middle game of the series. Today the Yankees will send out Lance Lynn looking to put some distance between them and the Oakland Athletics in the first Wild Card spot while the Orioles will counter with David Hess. Who? Exactly. The offense needs to make everyone say that about Hess as well, so let’s get to it here in the Bronx.

Lance Lynn... we can thank Sonny Gray for this experiment not being over yet. 

Hess will face the Yankees for the first time in his career this afternoon, and possibly at the worst time in his short MLB career. Hess has won just one of his last 14 starts including a loss in his last start where he allowed four runs on six hits in 4.1 innings pitched against the Chicago White Sox last Sunday. 

The game will be played at 4:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network locally, MASN in the Baltimore area, and MLB Network nationally. 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 on WFAN.

Enjoy the game, just win baby, and go Yankees!!

Hello… Predictions!

Good morning Yankees family and welcome back to the blog. This morning and all weekend long I wanted to take a look back at some of the predictions that I made before the season to see just how well I did. Spoiler alert, without looking I am sure I did terrible. I usually do, but I am okay with that, so enjoy the predictions and the fun at my expense, and definitely enjoy your weekend. Much love to you all.

And much more love to you, my Kari Ann. You are my world and everything that is good in it, and I love you more today than I did yesterday… and I will love you more tomorrow than I do today until there are no more days left on this planet. I love you!

This Day in New York Yankees History 9/22: Sori, Right Number

Alfonso Soriano was not always a middle of the lineup type hitter for the New York Yankees like we saw the second half of the 2013 season. At one point Soriano was a lead off hitter for New York and on this day in 2003 Soriano hit his 13th lead off home run of the season establishing a new major league record. Soriano would break the tie with the Baltimore Orioles Brady Anderson after he hit 12 leading of the game in 1996.

Also on this day in 1969 the great Willie Mays joined exclusive company when he joined Babe Ruth in the 600 home run club. It's not really New York Yankees history but the Giants Hall of Fame hitter achieved the feat with a seventh inning pinch hit two run home run off Padres pitcher Mike Corkins.