Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Game Thread: Yankees @ Dodgers 7/30

The Yankees and the Dodgers kick off a quick two game set at Dodgers Stadium tonight on YES and on MLB TV.  Andy Pettitte and Zack Greinke is the pitching match up and it is happening now. Andy Pettitte has continued to have that one bad inning and struggle for the Yankees and looks to bounce back and turn it around. Zack Greinke has continued to pitch well this season and has a 5-1 record with a 2.56 ERA at home this season. This is going to be a tough series so go Yankees!

Here is the Yankees lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix 3B
Chris Stewart C
Andy Pettitte LHP

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Fading Away and Trading Away

Confession: I tweeted last night that I would have an article today--I never break my promises, but I always procrastinate horribly.

Fading away. Well, Yankees, you're getting your Christmas present: no A-Rod. Here's my short and sweet opinion on the whole thing: A-Rod's always been the big scapegoat and the black sheep of baseball from the beginning, when there are way worse offenders. Baseball, you mean to tell me that you'll suspend Ryan Braun, who out-and-out LIED through his teeth to everyone's faces and pumped his chest, only for the rest of the year, while the WORST A-Rod gets is a suspension through 2014? A-Rod's never failed a drug test, and even admitted to doing steroids in 2009. He hasn't pumped his chest or mocked baseball's higher-ups. Do I think he's done steroids since '09? Probably. But don't forget, in this country you're innocent until proven guilty. But the Yankees got what they wanted, so now the money's freed up for...

Trading away. It's 8:38 p.m. on July 30th as I write this. There are 18 hours before the end of the trading deadline (4 p.m. tomorrow.) The Yankees are lacking in two vital positions: catcher and third base. It looks like the Phillies will clutch Michael Young with their talons until kingdom come, so I'll focus on the catcher.

Braves fans, bear with me. National League ballparks are usually deeper than American League ballparks. Therefore, an AL pitcher who has a soft spot for home-runs would probably pitch a little better in NL parks. Yes, I'm talking about Phil Hughes. Did anyone see him Sunday against Tampa, against a ROOKIE? BUT, that same pitcher would probably not give up as many home runs in Atlanta, as well as the pitchers' parks the Mets, Marlins, Phillies and Nationals have in that division. They're not the same bandboxes in the AL East. Throw Hughes and some prospects or cash and you got yourself one Brian McCann!

Brian McCann is hitting .284, and is a free agent this winter. He's 29, a 7-time All-Star (including this year when he was hurt) and in the prime of his career. A player like that commands a lot of money, even if he's a Georgia native. The Yankees need a catcher with power, the Braves need a pitcher without Tim Hudson now. Think about it; let's make it happen (hopefully!)

'Till Next Time!

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

New York Yankees @ Los Angeles Dodgers 7/30

The New York Yankees will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers in Dodgers Stadium in a quick two game set. The Dodgers are one of the hottest teams in the National League right now and the Yankees offensive woes have continued so this could be a tough second reunion with Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly. The Yankees will send Andy Pettitte to the mound to face off with Zach Greinke for the Dodgers. The game will be televised at 10:00 pm ET on YES, MLB Network, and MLB TV.

Yankees Interested In Angels Alberto Callaspo

The Yankees and the Angels have discussed trading the Angels third basemen Alberto Callaspo before Wednesday's 4:00 pm ET trade deadline passes. Callaspo is in his age 30 season and is hitting .253/.323/.348 with five home runs. Callaspo is a switch hitter which the Yankees seem to covet and is fairly cheap making only $4,100,000 in 2013 (we would only pay the prorated amount obviously) and a guaranteed $4,875,000 in 2014 before hitting free agency for the first time. With Alex Rodriguez possibly out for at least this season and next Callaspo could be a decent fill in player at third for the Yanks.

John Sterling's Home Run Call For Alfonso Soriano

Did anyone notice the home run call that John Sterling had for Alfonso Soriano? It may be the worst one that he ever had actually.... "Sori, RIGHT number?" Maybe it's just me but I don't get it. I get that "Sori" is supposed to signify "sorry" but still, I don't get it and I don't think I want to get it. Sterling is slipping with the home run names but that is probably because he is out practice.

Michael Young Will Only Approve Trade Back To Texas

Well so much for that, huh?

Michael Young has announced today the he would only waive his no trade clause in a deal that sent him back to the Texas Rangers. With prospect Cody Asche being called up to man third base a deal for Young seemed imminent until this announcement was made late this afternoon. I cannot see Michael Young getting traded now but maybe this is all posturing.

Charleston Riverdogs Game Recap For 7/29

Crawdads Sweep Twin Bill From Charleston
RiverDogs drop two falling late in both contests Monday evening

CHARLESTON, SC – The Hickory Crawdads knocked off the RiverDogs 3-1 in game one and came back to defeat the ‘Dogs by a 5-4 final in game two in front of 2,811 at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park in South Atlantic League action.

With the losses, the RiverDogs drop to 20-15 in the second half and 59-44 overall. Charleston sits two games behind the Lexington Legends for first place in the Southern Division. With the victories, the Crawdads improve to 21-16 in the second half and 60-47 overall.

Game one was scoreless until the third inning when both offenses awoke. Hickory got things started with run in the top of the third inning. Lewis Brinson drew a walk and advanced to second on a fielder's choice and an error by shortstop Cito Culver in the very next at-bat. Two batters later Brinson scored on a sacrifice fly by Hirotoshi Onaka.

Charleston struck for a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth but stranded a golden opportunity ending the inning with the bases loaded.

Hickory took it from there scoring two runs in the sixth to secure the game one victory.
Cody Ege (2-0) took the win in relief of starter Luis Parra. Ege went three innings and struckout six on two hits.
Derek Varnadore (0-3) took the loss in game one in relief of starter Luis Severino. Varnadore lasted 2.1 innings and allowed two runs on three hits.

In game two, Ryan Rua got the scoring started with a solo blast, his league leading 29th of the season.
Charleston struck back with two runs of their own on a Wes Wilson single that scored Daniel Aldrich and Angelo Gumbs. The ‘Dogs scored two more runs in the sixth and went to the top of the seventh with a three run lead.
In the top of the seventh, the Hickory bats got to RiverDogs closer Ben Paullus and scored four times to come out victorious 5-4.

Ben Paullus (6-3) took the loss in relief of starter Cesar Vargas as he allowed two runs in his one inning of work.
Jose Valdespina (3-1) picked up the win for the Crawdads in game two. Jose Monegro picked up his second save in the comeback win for Hickory.

BALLPARK FUN: Charleston fans got to see a game that started on Monday night and ended just shy of 1:00 AM Tuesday morning.

COMING UP:Game three of this four game set is Tuesday evening back at The Joe with first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm. Charleston will send LHP Evan Rutckyj (8-6, 4.67 ERA) to the mound as Hickory counters with RHP Connor Sadzeck (9-3, 2.51 ERA). Tickets for Tuesday’s game may be purchased by 
visiting www.riverdogs.com or by calling (843) 577-3647You can listen to each and every game live locally on ESPN 910 AM or online at www.riverdogs.com.

Being posted with permission from the Charleston Riverdogs organization. The original post can be seen HERE

Yankees Targets At the Trade Deadline

The Yankees already made one improvement by trading for Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs.

Soriano got the game winning hit and went 4-5 on Sunday. He and Derek Jeter provided some great energy to the team. However, with the Yankees starting pitching struggling and the offense still not very good, the Yankees will need more upgrades than just Soriano.

The Yankees should get another upgrade when Curtis Granderson comes off the DL, which will be a big help. If the Yankees can trade for another bat that would be make four new additions counting Jeter, Soriano and Granderson. The Yankees could actually have a decent offense if that happens.

The player who the Yankees have been most connected to has been Phillies 3rd baseman Michael Young. I am not exactly enamored with him for a few reasons. One, is that his defense is so bad that it almost scratches out his offensive production. Young's .2 WAR and -15.2 UZR at third base indicates that.

Another, is that Young will probably cost some significant prospects with a lot of teams interested in him, and I do not want to give up big prospects for rentals this year since the Yankees chances at a championship this year are not great.

Young is having a solid offensive year with a slash line of .277/.342/.402/.743 with a 106 wRC+. That is certainly a huge step up from the atrocious numbers that the Yankees have gotten out of third base this year. However, if the cost is a top 10 prospect I probably don't think Young is worth it.

The guy I would be targeting is Seattle 1B/OF Mike Morse. Morse was just activated from the DL with a quad injury and has a slash line of .250/.308.417/.725 on the season with a 111 wRC+. Seattle has been said not to be sellers, but Morse is expendable with Raul Ibanez, Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales already on the roster.

I wanted the Yankees to trade for Morse this offseason when Washington put him on the block and he might come cheaper than Michael Young right now after his DL stint. Morse is versatile, hits lefties, and provides power from the right side that the Yankees need desperately.

Morse would be an upgrade over Lyle Overbay at first and can play in right field when necessary. Morse had a career year in 2010 when he hit .303, with 31 home runs, 95 RBI and a .910 OPS. In 2011, he played in only 102 games, but was solid with 18 home runs and a .791 OPS.

Morse is a lefty masher with a slash line of .303/.358/.515/.873 against lefties for his career. Also, he fits Yankee Stadium very well, as 30.1% of his career hits have gone to right field. He has a .280 ISO power on those hits, so Morse would love the short porch.

Morse is the perfect fit for the Yankees right now. Imagine this lineup:

1. Gardner CF
2. Jeter SS
3. Cano 2B
4. Soriano DH
5. Granderson LF
6. Morse 1B
7. Ichiro RF
8. Nunez/Lillibridge 3B
9. Stewart/Romine C

That is not bad 1-7. It would be even better if Alex Rodriguez does end up playing. I think Morse and not Michael Young is who the Yankees should be targeting leading up to Wednesday's trade deadline.

Jeter Gives the Yankees a Desperate Spark

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There are some things in sports that you just cannot explain. I usually try to back up any opinion I have with facts, stats and reasons. I very much try to stay away from overblown narratives and clich├ęs. However, Derek Jeter is just a different case. There are intangibles that he brings to the table that just cannot be quantified in numbers and he proved it again on Sunday.

“He’s a movie, is what he is,” Joe Girardi told John Harper of the New York Daily News. “When you think about his 3,000th hit, how he did that, and what he did today:
“We hadn't hit a home run since the All-Star break, we hadn't hit a right-handed home run in months. For him to come out and do that in his first AB… he’s a movie.”

Girardi captured the moment perfectly in that quote. We have seen this many times from Jeter before, as his list of dramatic moments runs very deep. His 2000 World Series MVP vs. the Mets, his amazing backhanded flip to nail Jeremy Giambi at the plate in the 2001 ALDS, his dramatic game-winning home run of Byung-Hyun Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, his amazing dive into the stands in 2004 against Boston and his 3,000th hit being a home run against David Price top the list. Sunday’s first inning home run against Matt Moore can now be added to that impressive list.

The Yankees have been desperate for any kind of spark all season. This season has been as listless as any season in recent memory. There has been no buzz around Yankee Stadium or the Yankees all season.

Jeter changed all of that Sunday. In front of a packed house to honor another great Yankee Hideki Matsui, he hit the first pitch he saw over the right field fence with his patented Jeterian swing. It was more than just a first inning solo home run. It was the first time all season that I felt like I was watching the Yankees again. Even when the Yankees were doing well with a bunch of no-name players it still didn't feel right. Something was missing.

After Jeter broke his ankle in the playoffs vs. Detroit, re-aggravated that injury in spring training, and hurt his quad in just his first game back, obviously one had to wonder whether we would see these moments again from Jeter. Of course, this is not the first time Jeter has been counted out in his career, and he has always had an answer.

Jeter and Alfonso Soriano could have sparked a season altering win on Sunday. If the Yankees miraculously make the playoffs this year everybody will be looking back on Sunday as the turning point. Unfortunately, it was just one game, and the Yankees still have many issues.

Obviously, the horrid Yankees offense has been a problem all year. The Yankees will be counting on Jeter, Soriano, Curtis Granderson and maybe another trade deadline acquisition to change that. If those potential four new additions can stay in the lineup and be productive the Yankees might actually have a decent offense. However, the starting pitching that was always supposed to be a given is not that anymore.

CC Sabathia is stuck in the worst stretch in his career, as he had a 5.11 ERA in June and a 6.60 ERA in July. If that doesn't change the Yankees aren’t going anywhere. Phil Hughes cannot pitch at Yankees Stadium (6.02 home ERA). Also, Andy Pettitte has started to show his age this year. So, that leaves Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova as the only two reliable starters right now. That isn't enough with this offense.

There is no reason that the Yankees should make the playoffs this year. If Jeter can lead the charge and take this team to the postseason it would be one of the greatest accomplishments of his illustrious career. The odds are stacked against him, but that is just the way Jeter likes it. With Jeter back in the fold, a movie that started out as bleak as the 2013 Yankees season now has a glimmer of hope for a happy ending.

Baseball Cards Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing the New York Yankees over the next couple days so I wanted to take this opportunity to share some Don Mattingly cards out of my personal collection for your enjoyment... so enjoy!

New York Yankees @ Los Angeles Dodgers Preview

For only the third time since Interleague play was introduced in 1997 will the New York Yankees travel to Los Angeles to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodgers Stadium, the previous two times being in 2004 and 2010. This will be a quick two game series jam packed with great pitching match-ups which will be reflected if you go to the ticket office and try and purchase a ticket for this series. This is the most expensive series in Los Angeles over the past three seasons with tickets up 123% for Dodgers home game tickets and an 18% increase for the Yankees road tickets, which are already a pretty big draw wherever they go to begin with.

 The Yankees will have their captain Derek Jeter back in the lineup for this series and there is an outside shot of having Alex Rodriguez back as well for Tuesday. The Yankees are coming off of being shut out for the 9th time this season, their most since 1997, and can use any kind of offensive boost they can get. The Dodgers are using the off day on Monday to shuffle their rotation and push by original game one starter Ricky Nolasco to Thursday to take on the Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers are easily the hottest team in the National League the past month or so after taking over the NL West lead with this recent run of victories. These two teams seem to be going in opposite directions right now but with the recent addition of Alfonso Soriano for the Yankees and with the trade deadline looming this series has the potential to make or break these two teams seasons.

The game one match-up will be Zach Greinke taking the bump for the home team and being opposed by the  struggling Yankees veteran Andy Pettitte. Greinke is 8-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 16 starts this season including a 5-1 record with a 2.56 ERA in eight home starts this season. Andy Pettitte has been more like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Pettitte this season with a 7-8 record with a 4.39 ERA including more than a few starts with one bad inning mixed in with five or six other masterful innings. With an average ticket price of $150, although you can get in for as low as $32, it seems like the fans are expecting a pitchers duel in this game. Andy Pettitte is a big game pitcher and with the Yankees falling farther and farther out of the race and with the Dodgers streaking to the top of the NL West in the last month this may be the game that turns Andy Pettitte's season around.

In game two the pitching match-up will be Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers and former Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees. Clayton Kershaw is 10-6 with a major league leading 1.96 ERA in 22 starts this season. Hiroki Kuroda spent his first four seasons in the majors with the Dodgers before leaving the West coast to pitch for the New York Yankees and has become the Yankees ace ever since his arrival. Kuroda has put up a 10-6 record this season with a 2.51 ERA and should have more since he was on the mound for both of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera's blown saves in 2013.With an average ticket price of $141, although you can get in for as little as $29, fans may realize that this has the potential to be one of those games where one run may be enough for your team to win.

The Dodgers are 25-13 in games started by both Kershaw and Greinke this season so this looks to be a tough series for the Yankees to win when they need the wins the most. The Dodgers got hot when Zach Greinke and Hanley Ramirez got healthy and off of the disabled list and proceeded to storm to the top of the NL West all the way from fourth place in the division. Fourth place is currently where the Yankees are sitting, although 3.5 games behind in the Wild Card race, and are looking to have a similar run at the AL East crown. This should be a fun series for Dodgers and Yankees fans, baseball history loving fans, and the casual baseball fans alike. Tune in starting at 10:00 pm ET and 7:00 pm local time so you don't miss a single pitch in what should be a fun series.

This Day In New York Yankees History 7/30

On this day in 1990 George Steinbrenner agrees to step down from every day operations of the Yankees and agrees to go on the permanent ineligible list. George would be reinstated in 1993 but for three long years George Steinbrenner was not involved with his beloved New York Yankees.

On this day in 2006 the Yankees sent CJ Henry and three other minor league players for Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle from the Philadelphia Phillies.

On this day in 2008 the Yankees acquired Ivan Pudge Rodriguez from the Detroit Tigers for relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth.