Friday, July 18, 2014

Phelps Finally Gets a Win as Yankees Beat Reds 4-3

In six of his seven starts since June 13, Yankees Pitcher David Phelps has been surprisingly good.

The 27-year-old youngster, who at one point this season lost four consecutive contests, has put together an impressive 2.09 ERA in those six outings, yet has won just two due to a lack of run support.

Fortunately, that recurring negative finally ended in tonight's opener against the Reds, with the Yanks' bats crossing home four times in a much-needed 4-3 win.

In this one, as expected against an offensively strong Cincinnati team, Phelps wasn't dominant, surrendering three runs (two earned) over 6 1/3 innings on a pair of solo home runs from Brayan Pena and an error by Derek Jeter.

Still, thanks to a couple of two-out RBI hits from Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran as well as a go-ahead two-run shot to right by Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the fifth, he was able to out-duel Mike Leake (7 IP, 4 ER), evening up his record at 4-4 and lowering his ERA to 3.87.

Again, he wasn't all that overpowering, but when you have Dellin Betances and David Robertson in your bullpen that's acceptable.

When Phelps first left the contest with the tying run on and one out in the seventh, Betances began another amazing performance, retiring each of the five men he faced while striking out three.

Then in the top of the ninth, Robertson of course converted the save, his 24th in 26 chances this year.

As always, with two outs and nobody on the Bombers' Closer did give up a single to Chris Heisey, but since he still bounced back to get the next hitter to pop out you can't help but like his overall effort, as it again clinched for the Pinstripes a victory.

Game Thread: Yankees vs. Reds 7/18

Welcome to tonight's open thread and game thread, it's been too long. Who's idea was it to have a four day All Star break, seriously? Anyway the New York Yankees will host the Cincinnati Reds tonight in the first of a three game set at Yankee Stadium this weekend. The pitching matchup includes David Phelps for the Yankees and Mike Leake for the Reds. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

Get your Yankees tickets right HERE for any game this weekend or this homestand. You can also follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes or you can search for us on Facebook by searching The Greedy Pinstripes to chat during the game.

This is an open thread so let's get the comments sections going. Enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your evening and weekend. Go Yankees!

Derek Jeter Day Announced For September 7th

The New York Yankees will host Derek Jeter Day at Yankee Stadium a little earlier than anyone expected as the team will honor their captain on September 7th. It kind of sucks to be a scalper or a ticket buyer right now if you banked on it being during the last Yankees home stand on September 21st like most of us did. The Yankees will play the Kansas City Royals on this day at 1:05 pm ET.

Sunday the 7th of September is also the first game of the 2014-2015 NFL season so there is always that to contend with. The Yankees have not released any details for the day except for the fact that a limited edition commemorative coin will be given to every Yankee fan in attendance.

Get your tickets for the game before the sellers see the news and raise their asking price. CLICK HERE to get tickets for Derek Jeter Day without the annoying and bulky shipping costs and hidden fees. You're welcome.

Reds Starter Mike Leake Was Arrested For Shoplifting

Well that escalated fast, didn't it?

CC Sabathia's Season Is Over Due To Knee Surgery

The New York Yankees ace starting pitcher CC Sabathia is done for the season after trying and failing to rehab his degenerative knee condition. Sabathia will get knee surgery next week to clean up the knee, not the dooming microfracture surgery, and hopes to be ready for spring training 2015. This hurts but the season ending diagnosis was looking more and more realistic for weeks now.

I've Got Til 5! - Second Half Surprises

While it's not impossible for the Yankees to win the American League East this season, it certainly won't be easy.

Thankfully no other team in the division is playing so well that the Yankees should already be thinking about one of the two Wild Card spots. The division leading Baltimore Orioles aren't an offensive juggernaut, and have been relying on their pitching staff quite a bit. The 2nd place Toronto Blue Jays have pretty much been the opposite of the Orioles, relying on their bats to overcome a mediocre pitching staff. The Tampa Bay Rays have hit poorly while being just "okay" on the mound, and the Red Sox have gotten solid pitching as their offense has produced the least amount of runs in the American League.

So even though the Yankees currently sit with a .500 record, while having a run differential that leads some to believe their record is above them, there's still a chance.

"So you're telling me there's a chance."

I'll admit that some Yankees are playing better than they probably should. Brett Gardner is having a career-year at the plate, Ichiro Suzuki is not hitting like the 40 year-old that he is, and Masahiro Tanaka is already showing signs of getting tired. But let's forget about those things, and root for them to continue. And at the same time, here are five guys that I believe will have a nice 2nd half...

1. Chase Whitley

While it took until his eighth start this season to suffer his first loss, Chase Whitley has had it rough since then. In fact, in his last four starts, Whitley has failed to go beyond four innings. To make matters worse, Chase gave up 20 runs in those four starts.

Now, it's certainly true that I haven't seen nearly enough of Chase Whitley in Major League Baseball to say for sure, but I think we're going to see better things out of him in the second half. That's because batters have a Batting Average on Balls In Play (known from here on out as "BABIP") of .354, which is incredibly high. Combined with Whitley's line drive percentage against of 23%, which to be fair isn't small, tells me a slight correction is coming.

There's one other thing about Chase... his FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching rate, of 3.98. If the Yankees infield can do a little better job, then that too could go a long way towards the Yankees getting more out of Whitley's starts.

2. Brian McCann

While we've already seen a turn-around from Brian McCann, I'm sure there are some fans out there that believe it won't continue. After all, the All Star break did cut off any momentum the Yankees backstop created.

But I believe it could continue. McCann's BABIP of .255, coupled with a career-high line drive rate of 27%, makes me believe that he'll keep that hot streak going through the rest of the season. And having a guy that could hit .275/.350/.480 the rest of the way could be a huge help.

3. David Robertson

While it's hard to believe that we could see a guy whose ERA is 2.76 improve, that doesn't mean it's not true.

Opposing hitters have a BABIP of .356, while at the same time hitting D-Rob a little harder than in recent history. And if those two things come back down to Earth, then there's no reason we couldn't see Robinson go from being a "good" closer to a "dominant" one in the second half of the season.

Oh, and there's one other thing... Like Chase Whitley, David has a FIP much lower than his ERA (1.73). This is yet another reason for Brian Cashman to think hard about a player's fielding ability, as well as his bat, when looking to upgrade the infield by trade.

"That's right, kids."

4. Carlos Beltran

Despite what his batting stats may tell us, Carlos Beltran is actually hitting the ball as hard as he ever has. His career line drive percentage is 20%, and Beltran is actually hitting the ball well 21% of the time. So it really doesn't make sense that his BABIP is a lowly .222.

His batting line of .216/.271/.401 is far from impressing Yankees' fans, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Beltran hit somewhere in the neighborhood of .300/.350/.500, which isn't much better than he hit from 2012 to 2013 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

5. Brandon McCarthy

From 2011 through 2012, when batters had a BABIP of .298 (pretty much exactly league average) against McCarthy, Brandon's batting line against was a very respectable .262/.294/.384. That triple-slash against this season is a less-than-respectable .300/.311/.463.

While that bump in BABIP is a bit understandable, thanks to hitters making better contact off of McCarthy's pitches this season (26% line drive percentage this season, versus 21% between 2011 and 2012), it doesn't mean that we shouldn't expect more from the newest member of the Yankees' rotation.

You see, hitters this season have a BABIP of .348 against McCarthy, which is definitely higher than one would expect. Seeing as how McCarthy is a ground ball pitcher, if the Yankees can find a way to improve their infield defense (saying that is getting very tiring), then I see no reason why Brandon McCarthy couldn't have a healthy second half of 2014.

While in previous seasons it's been expected that the Yankees would reach the postseason, this year is definitely different. Even though the Yankees were in fourth place in the division on this day last season, and missed the postseason for only the second time in 19 seasons, they still had 51 wins. Back in 2008, the only other time in 19 years they missed the playoffs, the Yanks still had 50 wins at this point. So this may be the biggest second half mountain the team has had to climb out of in a very long time.

"Yeah, I think I'll stick with baseball cleats."

Before I leave you to the weekend, I wanted to let you know that I'm going on vacation next week, so there won't be an "I've Got Til 5!" post. I'd still love to hear any ideas for this column you have, so feel free to let me know via Twitter (either at the blog @greedystripes or at my personal account @BryanV21), the comment section, or by email (either at or

Have a good one, and as always... GO YANKS!

Yankees Game Preview 7/18 vs. Cincinnati Reds

Welcome back we sure have missed you. The New York Yankees are back from the All Star Break and are ready to start a three game set at Yankee Stadium this weekend against the Cincinnati Reds. The Yankees will send David Phelps to the mound to face off with the Reds Mike Leake. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Phelps may be the Yankees most reliable starting pitcher now that Masahiro Tanaka is on the disabled list, a scary proposition to think about. Not that Phelps has been bad, he has a 3.94 ERA this season, but he wasn't even in the rotation to start the season. Phelps will have eight days off between starts so he will either be extremely sharp or extremely rusty tonight, no in between unfortunately.

Leake last pitched on Saturday and allowed four runs on nine hits against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a six inning no decision. Leake started the month of May with a 2.16 ERA and has since seen it rise to 4.50, a trend the Yankees hope continues tonight.

Get your Yankees tickets for tonight's game right here on the blog for tonight's game at Yankee Stadium. It's Yankees cap night at the stadium so get cheap tickets without shipping costs or fees and a pretty cool Yankees hat to boot. Can't beat that, CLICK HERE. 

Go Yankees!!

Yankees Likely Won't Call Up Refsnyder in 2014

Since getting promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a little over a month ago, Yankees Infield Prospect Rob Refsnyder has done pretty well. 

The 23-year-old ex-Arizona Wildcat, whom the Yanks selected 187th overall in the 2012 Draft, has hit a nice .311 with 6 home runs and 16 RBI in 34 games, making many fans want him to get called up to the big leagues.

Still, unfortunetaly for those people, team GM Brian Cashman doesn't share their opinion, saying earlier today that the Bombers have no plans to play Refsnyder in 2014.

"My preference would be to let him play the year in Triple-A," Cashman told The Journal News' Chad Jennings. "We're looking toward him more for 2015, but that doesn't mean he can't get here in 2014. But I wouldn't bet on it."

Prior to joining the Railriders, Refsnyder also swung the bat impressively with Double-A Trenton (batting .342 in 60 contests), something that can only be considered as more evidence for him soon putting on Pinstripes.

Currently, the 47-47 Yankees are starting Brian Roberts every day at Second Base, a move that hasn't really worked out so far, with Roberts offering little-to-no production in the bottom of the lineup.

Mortgaging The Future May Not Be A Bad Idea

As I write this article I understand that it may be a little tongue and cheek, cliché, or downright wrong but I am going to go ahead and post it anyway. If the Yankees did it right, and that’s the keyword of the statement, mortgaging the future may not be the worst idea they have ever had. This post may seem negative at times but I assure you it’s more for strategy purposes than anything. I love this team and want nothing but the best for it. I am not advocating for selling anything not tied down just for the heck of it and I’m not saying I would sacrifice the future for a lost cause, again I only suggest this if it’s done the right way, but I am saying that maybe selling high on guys wouldn’t be the worst idea we have ever had.

As we all are painfully aware of the Yankees have struggled with developing their own talent out of their farm system, specifically with starting pitchers. The Yankees have caught more lightning in a bottle with lesser known names and late drafted players then they have the “can’t miss” prospects. Why not trade away the Yankees top notch guys for say a Troy Tulowitzki, who has hinted at wanting out of the losing environment in Colorado, to play for a perennial contender, and to be the man to replace the retiring Derek Jeter, and roll with what we have left to fill the other voids. New York won’t have the big name draws to the park but the Yankees can survive it and still produce true Major League talent circa 1996-2000.

So many times have we seen a Jesus Montero, Drew Henson, even as far back as a Brien Taylor fizzle out and never reach their true potential. De Ja Vu all over again as we see Gary Sanchez struggling at an advanced stage, although improving defensively, and being suspended for undisclosed reasons in Trenton. We were all on the Mason Williams and Tyler Austin bandwagons only to be let down this season and last once again, not that they don’t have plenty of time to turn things around. Rafael DePaula breaks my heart every time he has a bad outing because nobody was as high on the guy as me, I had him listed in our Prospects Month prospect list at the #2 slot behind Sanchez. I’m not sure why these guys don’t work out and frankly I wouldn’t begin to know how to explain it but I also wouldn’t hold onto them based on projections alone. If the right deal were to come around I’d move them in a heartbeat, here’s also looking at you Cole Hamels.

The Yankees have gotten more out of the likes of Adam Warren, David Phelps, Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Francisco Cervelli, John Ryan Murphy, Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, Shane Greene recently, etc. then they have out of these can’t miss guys. Whether it’s the lack of spotlight or eyes on the players or if the Yankees are just unlucky is yet to be determined but the fact remains the Yankees bread and butter has been lesser known prospects and later in the draft type prospects rather than blue chips. Currently tearing up Triple-A and outperforming most on the current Yankees roster are players like Jose Pirela, Robert Refsnyder, Adonis Garcia, Kyle Roller, John Ryan Murphy, and others that most casual fans would not know if they met them walking down the street. My point being this, the hype and the name only goes so far and the talent speaks for itself. These guys have the talent and the mental makeup to go with it, some of the blue chip prospects simply don’t and that’s baseball.

I said all that to say this, if the Yankees can make a deal that “empties” the farm and has us listed low on all these pre-season and midseason prospects lists, so what? These lists are made from people that don’t cover the team or watch the team daily and their opinions are just that, opinions. Who cares if we win a Triple-A championship? I, personally, am more concerned with winning #28 in the Bronx and while I am the biggest supporter and follower of prospects and the young guys I still want to see the big league team win. If the Yankees can swing a trade that involves Luis Severino, Abi Avelino, Gary Sanchez, etc. then do it if it makes sense and it’s done right. The Yankees may not have a Top 10 prospects list on Baseball America next January but we’ll have plenty of guys to shine up another trophy for the trophy case in November. 

Soft Schedule Will Determine Yankee Buying or Selling

The Yankees are well rested and ready to make a run as we begin the final push for the postseason. There are 68 games left in the 2014 season minus the postseason and if the Yankees have another playoff run in them it has to start tonight in the Bronx. The Yankees schedule gets soft right at the perfect time as New York continues to deal with injuries and rookies hitting their innings walls, all eyes on you Chase Whitley. As a wise man once said in our comments section, Patrick Walsh, .500 teams don’t make up ground so we’re going to have to go on a run.

The run needs to start tonight as the Yankees host the Cincinnati Reds. By no means is Cincinnati a team the Yankees should crush and run out of the stadium but without some of their best players, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce specifically, but they are a team we should easily be able to take two of three from.

New York also has two series with the Texas Rangers, a team in a dog fight with the Houston Astros for the worst record in the AL West, that could (well should) end in a five to one advantage in those six games. The Rangers have more lost days to the disabled list then the Yankees, which is scary to think about, and doesn’t have the farm system it once had to fill the gaps.

The Toronto Blue Jays come to Yankee Stadium at the end of this month and while this is a team we’re chasing in the standings it’s also a team that has nightmares about playing in Yankee Stadium. New York seemingly owns the Blue Jays in the Bronx in recent memory and it remains to be seen whether Adam Lind (not likely) or Edwin Encarnacion (possible) will be available for this series. Just a quick scouting report and note to the Yankees pitchers, do NOT pitch to Melky Cabrera. I’d rather lose to Jose Bautista then continually get beat by Melky.

This schedule is a double edged sword. The Yankees will either run through the teams they are supposed to beat, which all playoff teams should, and buy at the trading deadline or they will blow it up. Unfortunately there is no in between, and even if they blow it up in the standings the Yankees are still highly unlikely to blow up the roster. This concerns me because Cashman may mortgage the future by trading away top notch prospects for this season after we make a run based off a cushion in the schedule. Either way it’s going to be a fun summer in the Bronx, stay tuned. 

And With The First Game After The All Star Break The New York Yankees Are On The Clock

Okay now go read that title again but this time pretend I am saying it with my best Bud Selig at the MLB draft voice. Hopefully that didn't turn you off and make you stop reading, didn't think about that actually that sounding like Bud Selig may make readers click away. Anyway...

Tonight the New York Yankees start the second half of the baseball season and they are on the clock. Specifically the soon to be free agent General Manager of the Yankees, Brian Cashman, is on the clock. The next 68 games will tell a lot about what the Yankees will do this winter and whether Cashman will be the one doing them. These next 68 games will determine whether a lot of these current players will be on the squad as well.

The Yankees have free agents at third base, Kelly Johnson, shortstop, Derek Jeter is retiring, second base, Brian Roberts, right field, Ichiro Suzuki, starting pitching, Hiroki Kuroda and Brandon McCarthy, and the bullpen, David Robertson, and conceivably none of them could be on the team next season. I don’t personally see the Yankees letting Mr. Robertson go because they don’t have the fiscal restraints that the team seemingly had in the 1996 season when the torch was passed to Mariano Rivera from John Wetteland but I’ve been wrong before.

If the Yankees are going to make a run at this a lot has to happen and a lot has to go right but the good news is this is a team that is beyond due for some good luck and fortune. Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and company will really have to get it going on the offensive side. Cashman is going to have to find a way to piece together a rotation until Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda get back and at the very least try and replace Chase Whitley. We also need Shane Greene to keep pitching beyond his years and need him to keep pretending this is the playoffs for the Trenton Thunder circa 2013 all over again because Greene may be the piece that holds this season together.

If the Yankees are going to make a run they also need an injection of youth on the team. I’ve said it a million times and listed the names of prospects tearing up Triple-A pitching and made the argument that if worst came to worst they should be hitting .200 in the majors and not underperforming veterans. I’ll make the argument once again today but I will spare you the list of who’s in and who’s out and just plea with Cashman once again to make a move. It’s glaringly obvious that the moves need to be done and it’s glaringly obvious that there isn’t a messiah and a savior (that we have the pieces to obtain anyway) out there on the trade market.

The next 68 games are upon us and the Yankees are going to have to do it on their own. Can they do it? We’ll see because they are now officially on the clock.  

Quick Hit: Carlos Beltran Expected To Be Activated

Carlos Beltran is expected to return from the seven day concussion DL before tonight's game with the Cincinnati Reds. Beltran fouled a pitch off the batting cage and was struck by the ball in the face while taking batting practice last week and suffered multiple fractures to his face. The Yankees need him back in the middle of that lineup and need him to contribute so let's hope the week off can help his nagging little injuries and help his bat speed get back to where it needs to be.

This Day In New York Yankees History 7/18: David Cone Throws A Perfect Game

The New York Yankees, without looking, have probably had the most players play for them than any other team in major league baseball. Not only has the team been around forever they also have never shied away from acquiring new players, even rentals, for a postseason run. The Yankees did just this on this day in 2008 when the recently released Richie Sexson signed with the Yankees. Sexson was the perfect platoon partner for Jason Giambi.

Also on this day in 1999 the Yankees showed once again that they could put on a show with Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium. When the Yankees put on a show they put one on right as David Cone became the 16th pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game beating the Montreal Expos 6-0. Before the game Don Larsen, the only player to throw a perfect game in the World Series, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Finally on this day in 1921 Babe Ruth became the all time home run leader when he connected for his 139th home run in Detroit. Ruth's 36th home run of the season went over 500 feet and put him ahead of Roger Connor's previous mark. It took Connor 18 seasons in the National League to reach the plateau.