Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Yankees Come Back From 6-0 Deficit, Still Lose to Blue Jays

When a team goes through these kinds of losing streaks, it's important for us to remember that things can get better.

Can, not will. 

Unfortunately, that negative philosophy is one we'll have to use when looking at tonight's game, as the Yankees fell to the Blue Jays 7-6, their fourth consecutive loss.

In the last three, as you probably already know, the Yanks never fell by less than five, at first appearing to make this contest an improvement.

However, after a quick look at the boxscore that belief is revealed as a misconception, as everything from the Bombers' hitting with RISP to their starting pitching struggled in this evening's defeat. 

To start things off, David Phelps gave up six earned runs in just 5 innings of work, with a long three-run home run from Dioner Navarro and a two-run single from Colby Rasmus highlighting his bad outing.

On that hit by Rasmus, a failed rundown by Derek Jeter allowed a third run to score, bringing the Jays' lead to 6-0 and again making the Yanks look done.

Fortunately, that wouldn't quite be the case, as the Pinstripes would rally to tie it up in the sixth and seventh when Jeter somewhat made up for his earlier mistake with a shot to left, Brian Roberts drove in a pair with another homer off Mark Buehrle (6.2 IP, 4 ER), Jacoby Ellsbury singled home Brett Gardner, and a two-out, two-run throwing error by Jose Reyes made the score even at 6.

Still, none of that would matter due to a disastrous ninth from the Bombers, in which they failed to get Gardner in from third and lost in the Jays' half of the frame, when Yangervis Solarte threw a Melky Cabrera sac bunt into foul territory.

Prior to that error, Adam Warren allowed a lead-off double to the aforementioned Reyes, causing him to take the loss, his fourth already this season.

Besides him, though, the Pinstripes' bullpen was actually pretty good (getting a combined three scoreless innings from Matt Thornton and Dellin Betances), a fact that can only make this defeat more painful, as the Yanks are now 3.5 games out of first place.

Carlos Beltran Hurt, CC Sabathia On The Way Back

Carlos Beltran felt something in his forearm while throwing and has been shut down from throwing and the outfield. While it's encouraging that it was not the elbow it is very discouraging that he will continue to be a DH only. We need his bat in the lineup but we also need half days off for Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, etc.

CC Sabathia threw a 34 pitch simulated game today and reported no issues with his degenerative knee condition. Sabathia will start a minor league rehab assignment on Saturday with the Gulf Coast Yankees and throw around 45-50 pitches in that contest. Sabathia is still slated to be back after the All Star Break.

Game Thread: Yankees @ Blue Jays 6/24

Welcome to tonight's open thread and game day thread as the New York Yankees travel to Rogers Centre to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. New York will send David Phelps to the mound to face off with Mark Buehrle tonight. The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET and can be seen on MY9, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

The Yankees come home this weekend to take on, and beat on hopefully, the Boston Red Sox so witness it live by purchasing your Yankees tickets right here on the blog. You can follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes or find us by searching The Greedy Pinstripes on Facebook to interact with us during the games. Also you can leave us a comment in the comments section of the site to chat with Yankees fans around the globe.

Enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your evening.

The Grumpy Cat Even Hates The Toronto Blue Jays

I am not sure if I loved the Grumpy Cat more before the "official" account started following me on Twitter or after but either way, I love it. Especially when it is talking crap about the Toronto Blue Jays. Enjoy the game Yankees family.

O'Brien & Severino Represent The Yankees In Futures Game

Major League Baseball will hold their annual Futures Game on July 13 at Target Field in Minnesota and the Yankees catcher/outfielder/first basemen Peter O'Brien and starting pitcher Luis Severino will represent New York. Last year the Yankees had Rafael DePaula represent the team and also had Jesus Montero represent us at one point not too long ago. 

O'Brien is leading the world of the minor leagues with 25 home runs and Severino has a 2.99 ERA and 78 K's in 72.1 IP in 2014. The future is bright in New York no matter what the "experts" who make the preseason prospects lists say. 

Yankees Scouting David Price Heavily

The New York Yankees are one of many teams that have been scouting the Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price heavily lately. Buster Olney reported today that the Rays are ready to trade Price "right now" although no deal is imminent. 

Price is only 28 years old and comes with a year of team control after 2014. Price has seen some decline in velocity but still has managed at least 10 strikeouts in four straight starts. 

The Rays would likely trade Price within the division but the Yankees would have to really overpay. I think the Yankees could clean the farm out before restocking it on July 2 when the international signing period begins but it seems unlikely that will happen. Here's to wishing. 

6/24 Yankees Game Preview vs. Toronto Blue Jays

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will play in the middle game of a three game set at Rogers Centre tonight. The Yankees will send the ever improving David Phelps to the mound to face off with Mark Buehrle for the Blue Jays. The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET and can be see on the MY9, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Phelps has been impressive through most of June and has only allowed two runs in his last 13.2 innings pitched. Phelps picked up his third win in his last start, against this same Toronto Blue Jays team, striking out seven batters. The only damage against Phelps was a Melky Cabrera two run home run.

Buehrle faced this same Yankee squad last time out and allowed three runs, two of them earned, including a home run off the bat of Brian McCann. Buehrle has 12 quality starts in 15 total starts this season but has not got a win in his last month's worth of starts.

Get your Yankees tickets for tonight's game or for the weekend set with the Boston Red Sox right HERE on the blog without all those annoying and costly fees or shipping charges. Big thank you goes out to Ticket Monster for helping the fans get back to the game.

Go Yankees!!

Girardi Believes Injuries Will Decide AL East

Since their second series of the season, the Yankees have been forced to worry about injuries. 

In that set, Mark Teixeira strained his hamstring, starting a trend that would later include Carlos Beltran, Francisco Cervelli, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda going down.

The Bombers' #3 Starter, Ivan Nova, even had to undergo Tommy John Surgury, ending his playing time in 2014.

Because of all those guys getting hurt, team Manager Joe Girardi admitted to the media yesterday that injuries and the way clubs deal with them will likely decide the AL East, a division where the first-place Blue Jays currently lead the Yanks by just 2.5 games.

"I've often said that I believe this division might be won by the team that handles the injuries the best," Girardi told MLB.com's Jamie Ross. "[The Blue Jays] have had some [injuries] pop up."

Currently on the Pinstripes' DL are the before-mentioned Sabathia and Pineda, two guys likely needed if they're going to make the playoffs.

During their time on the field, as anyone will tell you, neither of them was exactly consistent, although you have to think they'd do better than Vidal Nuno and Chase Whitley, inexperienced fill-ins who can't hold things together forever.

Let's all take a deep breath

All I see after Yankees games is either complete exuberance because the team played well or complete disappointment because one or 7 of the players are not playing up to their standards. While the latter may be the case with this squad, let's all take a collective deep breath.

Brett Gardner, is a career .267 hitter. He's currently hitting .285. You could make the case he's been the team's best non-pitcher player since last year if you factor in defense.

Now that we got that out of the way, I'd like to discuss primarily Brian McCann. In another piece I wrote, I was clamoring for John Ryan Murphy to get more playing time due Teixeira's inability to stay healthy. That would in effect let McCann learn to play first base, which he inevitably will have to do, and give Murphy playing time to develop at the MLB level. The whole reason I wrote that wasn't because I wanted McCann to lose playing time, it was for Murphy to gain.

Brian McCann has a triple slash line of .218/.280/.354 which is a ways from his career norms. But let's take into consideration everything else before we start bashing him. He signed his contract with the Yankees in late November if I recall correctly, had to learn a new pitching staff. Great, right? Should be easy to learn 5 new guys and a whole new bullpen, one would think after time they would mold seamlessly. That is just truly not the case, not only did he have to learn a whole new pitching staff, the biggest cog he had to adjust to is a guy who speaks maybe 30 collective words of English. That guy is also the best pitcher, by FAR, on the staff.

Sure, learning how to communicate with a Japanese pitcher can be tough. That's also not the only thing he's had to deal with. I'm sure you all remember the infamous Pine Tar game against the Red Sox? Well after that game, Pineda had been suspended 10 games before he re-injured himself. He also had lost Nova, who was expected to be the #4 guy behind Tanaka/Kuroda. So in a span of a month, he'd lost 2 guys who he worked all Spring Training with as expected mainstays in the rotation. Then he loses CC, a guy who no matter if he's leaving everything over the middle of the plate or if he's locating, will give you 6 innings. All that? Gone.

He's now dealing with trying to piece together outs to get quality innings out of pitchers who quite frankly shouldn't be MLB starters.

The whole point of this rant, I guess, is to try to prove my point that while I guarantee he feels bad about not hitting anything, his first and upmost job is to try to work with the pitchers and be the best fielding catcher he can possibly be. I'm sure we'd all rather have McCann, who is bound to start hitting once he settles in with the pitchers, than Chris Stewart or Russell Martin.

Martin Prado Should Be The New Kelly Johnson

The other day my colleague and good friend Bryan Van Dusen brought up the possibility of the New York Yankees trading for a Martin Prado to replace Brian Roberts on the club. While I agree that Prado would be a good acquisition I think Bryan was off just a little. Prado should replace Kelly Johnson, not Roberts, and here is why. It is worth mentioning, before we get too deep into this, that Prado is signed through the 2016 season at $11 million annually for the rest of this season and 2015-2016.

The first reason for not wanting Prado to replace Roberts is this is a typical Yankees move signing a veteran guy long term to block a prospect like Rob Refsnyder. The second reason is I do not believe Alex Rodriguez can be effective in 2015 after basically sitting out for two consecutive seasons late into his 30's. The third reason is Kelly Johnson needs to go and go now. Roberts plays adequate defense and is a switch hitter, if worse came to worse for Roberts he could be a pretty damn good bench guy for the Yankees. Johnson is basically a bench guy for the Yankees and is not having a great time at it.

Johnson was brought in because of his versatility and potential for pop and RBI's at the bottom of the order. Johnson has played 810 games at second base, 133 games in left field, 43 games at third base, and 27 games at first base in his career making him a good guy to have around. Prado on the other hand has played 374 games at third base, 252 games in left field and one game in right field, 245 games at second base,  56 games at first base, and 16 games as a shortstop. Losing the versatility of Johnson is not only replaced but improved upon if you add Mr. Prado.

Johnson was brought in to hit home runs and drive runners in. In 2014 Johnson is hitting .222 with four home runs and 16 RBI's and has not exactly instilled fear in opposing pitchers. While Prado has not been great he has been better lately and has a .274 average with three home runs and 34 RBI's on a much worse Arizona Diamondbacks team. Prado also only has 44 strikeouts in 318 plate appearances where Johnson has 40 K's in 160 plate appearances, or once every four at bats.

Johnson's left handed swing may have been made for Yankee Stadium but Prado's right handed swing balances out the lineup and makes the team better. Get it done Cash and DFA Johnson now.

You Can't Predict Baseball: Four K's & 3 Sac Flies In One Inning

I love this post on the site, I really do. I love baseball and I hate the mundane, so this works really well for me and I really enjoy typing these posts out as often as I can.

Today we remember this day in 2005 when Bernie Williams dropped a ball in center field allowing the New York Mets to become the first National League team to hit three sacrifice flies in one inning. Catcher Ramon Castro's sac fly tied the game at 1-1 before Jose Reyes' fly ball was dropped by Williams. Mike Cameron then flied out to right field allowing a third run to score.

On this day in 2011 the Yankees AJ Burnett became the first Yankees pitcher to strike out four hitters in one inning when he did it against the Colorado Rockies. AJ Burnett started his sixth inning by striking out Chris Iannetta and followed it up by striking out Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Nelson, only Nelson reached first base after the pitch went wild. Todd Helton would come up next with a runner on before AJ struck the future Hall of Famer out swinging.

In that same game in 2011 a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, 29 year old Michael Kacer, catches a foul ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson in Yankee Stadium. This was significant and eventually went viral and was all over ESPN because Kacer lost an arm during a rocket attack and made the catch with one arm. The catch was the top play in Sportscenter's Top Plays segment.

You know what they say Suzyn, you really just can't predict baseball.

Quick Hit: The Folly Floater

I was running across Youtube videos looking for something to post on our off day on Thursday, much like I do before every off day for the New York Yankees, and I ran across this video here of the "Folly Floater." Way back in 1970 the Yankees pitcher Steve Hamilton throws what is now known as an eephus pitch, maybe the first I don't know, to the Indians Tony Horton and Horton fouled it off.

Horton was shocked by this pitch and asked Hamilton to throw it again. Hamilton obliged and the second foul ball ended up in Thurman Munson's glove. The eephus pitch is born? Maybe!

This Day In New York Yankees History 6/24

On this day in 1936 Joe DiMaggio becomes the first member of the New York Yankees and the fifth player in major league history to hit two home runs in the same inning. The 21 year old rookie outfielder hit his historic home run in the fifth inning of an 18-11 beat down of the Chicago White Sox in Comiskey Park.

On this day in 1962 the longest game in New York Yankees history was played between the Bronx Bombers and the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees Jack Reed hits a home run in the 22nd inning, his only home run of his career, to help the Yankees beat the Tigers in Tiger Stadium 9-7.

On this day in 1992 Fay Vincent permanently suspended the Yankees pitcher Steve Howe for repeated drug offenses. Howe was caught buying a gram of cocaine in the last straw for the commissioner. In November of that year an arbitrator overturned the lifetime ban and allowed the former Rookie of the Year to enjoy one of his best seasons in 1994 when he saved 15 games and had a 1.80 ERA for the Yankees.