Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Daily Dozen - August 19, 2014

The Daily Dozen - August 19th, 2014 - YANKEES LOST TO THE ASTROS EDITION!
(Twelve Takeaways from Tonight's Game vs. the 2nd Worst Team in Baseball)

1. Jose Altuve is a base-hitting machine.  He goes 1 for 3 tonight with 2 walks and now has a .339 average.  He's a Robinson Cano type hitter...just saying...remember that guy?

2. Capuano had 6 Ks through 4 innings.  He seemed to be rolling.  Then the 5th inning happened.  While 8 Ks to 2 walks seems like a good outing, the hits combined with the walks equaled out to a 1.88 WHIP for the night.  That many baserunners will hurt you at some point no matter how many Ks you get.

3. Ellsbury and Teixeira will be key to a Yankees playoff run.  That combined with Gardner and Jeter getting on base, which isn't happening all too often right now.  Ellsbury went 3 for 4 tonight getting thrown out at the plate in the 8th while Teixeira went 1 for 4 with 3 Ks.  Note the result of the game.

4. Jeter's hit that tied Wagner was ruled an error today.  As it should have been in the first place...there is no place for home cooking of the books in my opinion.
(Credit: Bryan Hoch, MLB.com, Yankees.com)

5. Matt Dominguez had a 9-pitch at-bat in the top of the 4th. Capuano ultimately prevailed, but I believe this may have been the deciding factor in the game, not what happened in the 9th as Capuano was rolling to that point and then started to lose it heading into the 5th.  As a baseball fan, you've got to love at-bats like that.

6. Brian McCann's HR in the bottom of the 4th was his 14th of the season with 49 RBI in his 104 games for the Yankees.  Contrast that to his last season with the Atlanta Braves in which he played 102 games total hitting 20 HRs and 57 RBI.  Those of us that expected his numbers to go back to 2006 to 2009 numbers (average of 22 HR with 92 RBI) should expect more of the 2010 to 2013 numbers (average of 21 HR with 68 RBI).  I'm not sure it is worth the contract he got, but the jury is still out.

7. Martin Prado comes through in the bottom of the 5th.  He plates 2 runs with a double to tie the game at 4 a piece.  Prado was 3 for 4 on the night to match Ellsbury.  There would be no more runs after this inning.  In the month of August the Yankees have only scored 17 runs past the 5th inning and are 6-3 in games in which they do so.  In 6 of those games only 1 run was scored past the 6th inning with 4 games in the 9th inning.  They scored 2 runs against Boston on August 1st.  They scored 4 runs after the 5th against Verlander on August 6th placing him on the DL.  On August 8th when they scored 5 runs in the 6th to double up the Indians Native Americans.  They are 2-5 when they don't score past the 5th inning.  Heck on August 5th, they didn't score a run from the 6th inning to the 12th.

8. Betances faced 4 batters in the 8th inning and struck out 2 of them.  He now has a strikeout to inning ratio of 13.6K/9 innings pitched.  This is unreal.  He also has 113 Ks, which is 7 shy of Mariano's strikeout record for a reliever for the Yankees.  He is making a strong statement to be the closer of the future for the Yankees, especially after DRob's lackluster performance tonight.  But please, don't be so harsh on Houdini!  He's only human!
(Credit Quagliata and DiPietro of the YES Network)

9. Just how hard is it to hit a 99 mph fastball?  Well, it only takes approximately four tenths of a second to reach homeplate from the pitcher's hand.  Throw in a little funk in your windup and the batter's reaction time is diminished even more.  Everyone believes that good hitters can hit fastballs.  That is true if you are talking about 85 to 95 mph fastballs.  But once you start reaching the triple digits, if the pitcher has command of his pitch and can spot it where he wants it, it is nearly impossible.  Take out a stopwatch and see how many times you can stop it at 0.4 seconds, or better yet step into a batting cage at 70 mph and see just how quickly the ball arrives at your hands.  Major props to any of the MLB hitters that can catch up to Aroldis Chapman's heater.  Although, they are probably just guessing as soon as he starts his windup.

10. Ellsbury stole his 32nd base of the season.  He is on pace to record 42 steals this season which is well below his 162-game average of 53.  If he were to play every remaining game he would have played 158 this season, so that number is close enough.  Hopefully the emphasis on speed will be more going into next season with Gardner and Ellsbury tearing up the basepaths.  Of course when you have a true leadoff hitter batting 3rd, it is difficult to expect him to get as many steals...someone has to knock in runs!

11. Chris Carter hit a 3-run BOMB in the 9th off of Robertson to make it 7-4 Astros.  Prior to that he was 0-4 with the Golden Sombrero (4 strikeouts for those scoring at home).  It was his 30th HR of the season to go along with his 133 Ks.  This guy either jacks a HR or strikes out...consider him Adam Dunn, Jr.  On a sidenote, I would expect better plate awareness from a Hall of Famer.
Wait...not THAT Chris Carter! (Credit: theVikingAge.com) Go Bucks!

12. The Yankees lost to Houston for the 3rd time this year.  They are now 1-3 against the team with the 2nd worst record in the AL and can only tie the season series.  Not what you would expect for a team looking to make the playoffs.  Then again, their odds of making the playoffs BEFORE the loss tonight was only at 3.6% according to ESPN.com.

Nick's Picks 2.0: Astros VS Yankees

So, I have returned after a short hiatus. I, like most people, am hugely superstitious and with the former streak which shall not be named I have also decided to shut it down. My picks were doing nothing but bringing constant dismay to readers and myself, so mostly myself. After finishing up the Rays series with two victories and a home series with the Astros, what better way to come back strong. Mixing it up a bit I have decided to highlight my picks in a different way. We need this series, we need the rest of this month, but most of all we need our Yankees to play like they are capable of playing. The time is now, and what better way to start it off with a strong win tonight and some losses by the ones ahead of us. The Yankees send Chris Capuano to the hill to face off against Mr. Alphabet himself, Brett Oberholtzer. Let the picking commence!

Break-out hitter: Brain McCann is going to do some damage tonight. This guy is due to get some runs in and show that no one in this lineup is giving up. McCann is a lefty and the match-up seems destined for disaster but McCann is going to wreck it tonight. I predict him to go 2-4 since he is batting in the seventh spot, and he will drive in two runs with a homerun. 

Pitching performance to watch: I want to say Capuano in this game because he will be masterful and keep us in the game, but I think we will see some serious work from the bullpen to close this out. As a whole the bullpen will finally string together a shut out effort with five strikeouts over the final three innings. 

Simply Clutch: The most clutch performer tonight will be Joe Girardi. Notice I said performer and not player because Girardi will make sure to mix and match the pen perfectly and bring home a win. With rest needed down the stretch look for him to wisely use people in this opener as Capuano goes six innings tonight. 

So for tonight I can predict a great start to this series. The Yankees need this series at this time, and with no room for error I am sure that the last two victories against the Rays will provide enough of a spark from here on out. Tonight I predict a Yankees victory by the score of 5-2. Let's go Yankees! Remember YCPB. 


8/19 Yankees Open Game Thread vs. Houston Astros

Welcome to tonight’s open thread for the game between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros as the two teams start a three game set this week at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound looking to keep the winning streak alive and will face off with the Astros Brett Oberholtzer. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the MY9, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

Grab a pair of Yankees tickets for this week right here on the blog to see the game tonight, Michael Pineda tomorrow, or Brandon McCarthy Thursday. Also please follow @GreedyStripes on Twitter and Like our page on Facebook by searching for The Greedy Pinstripes.

It’s an open thread so feel free to hit up the comments section of the site and chat with other Yankees fans across the country. Enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your evening. Go Yankees!

Long Going into Series Against Astros: "We Have to Make a Move"

Since the Astros currently hold MLB's third-worst record, it's obvious to us all that the Yankees have to beat them in this week's series in the Bronx. 

No, that shouldn't be too hard, as Houston is just 23-37 on the road this season and 51-73 overall.

Nonetheless, considering Houston is in fact a professional team the Yanks will have to try if they are to win the upcoming three game set, a feat their hitting coach, Kevin Long, stressed in an article published earlier today by the NYDN's Mark Feinsand.

“We have to make a move here,” the heavily-criticized Long said. “We always talk about winning series, but I’d like to get a little greedy and put it on (the Astros or the White Sox). We have to play well to do that."

In the trio of contests, interestingly, New York appears to hold a huge advantage in terms of pitching matchups, with their relatively-strong group of Chris Capuano, Michael Pineda, and Brandon McCarthy going up against Houston's Brett Olberholtzer, Scott Feldman, and Dallas Keuchel.

Still, because the Yankees have had a tendency to underachieve at home this year some skepticism in this situation would be healthy, as the Yanks have only won half of their 58 Yankee Stadium-based games so far in 2014.

The Sandlot Is Better Than The 2014 Houston Astros

Can't argue with a classic...

8/19 Yankees Game Preview vs. Houston Astros

The New York Yankees are fresh off taking two out of three from the Tampa Bay Rays and look to keep their winning streak alive as they come home to Yankee Stadium to take on the Houston Astros. The Astros are in the middle of yet another losing season but should send some good pitchers to the mound this week. Tonight the Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound to face off with the Astros Brett Oberholtzer. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the MY9, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Capuano is still searching for his first win in a Yankees uniform although he has pitched well since coming over to New York. The Yankees have only won one of his starts, his last, so New York looks to make it two in a row with Capuano on the mound tonight in the Bronx. The Yankees are also looking to win their third straight game overall and climb back into the AL East and Wild Card standings.

Oberholtzer is coming off a start in which he pitched at least seven innings for the third consecutive start. Oberholtzer has also pitched at least six innings in 11 straight starts while Houston has won five of Oberholtzer's last six starts and seven of his last 10 starts. Needless to say this may be a tough one for the Yankees offense. 

Go Yankees!!

History Of Playoff Teams w/ Negative Run Differentials

The New York Yankees are looking at being one of the few teams in Major League history to make the playoffs with a negative run differential, well if they don't start blowing out opponents from here until October anyway. How does that bode for the Yankees assuming they can even get there? I'm glad you asked...

The most recent team to do it was the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks who finished with a 90-72 record and a -22 run differential. Arizona made it all the way to the NLCS where they lost and did it while riding the backs of their starting pitchers. Arizona was so dismal that year offensively that their best hitter was their starting pitcher Micah Owings, 159 wRC+. Jose Valverde closed out 47 games that season.

Ten long years earlier was the last time a team made the playoffs with a negative run differential, the 1997 San Francisco Giants. The Giants also finished with a 90-72 record and had a -9 run differential. The Giants lost in the NLDS right before Barry Bonds starting noticeably taking steroids. The Giants would simply out slug you because the pitching wasn't much to write home about.

Ten long years earlier (I'm noticing a pattern here) the 1987 Minnesota Twins finished with a 85-77 record in a weak American League Central division and actually won the World Series with a -20 run differential. The Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series after the Cardinals posted a +105 run differential that season.

In 1984 the Kansas City Royals went 84-78 and had a -13 run differential before losing in the ALCS that season. George Brett had a down season along with the rest of the Royals offense but thankfully they were in a weak AL West.

In closing, it hasn't happened very often but the New York Yankees could conceivably make the playoffs with a negative run differential. Frankly, the Yankees could win the World Series with a negative run differential. Will it happen? Stay tuned...

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Chuck Knoblauch

Edward Charles “Chuck” Knoblauch was born on July 7, 1968 and spent much of his career with the Minnesota Twins before coming to the New York Yankees. Chuck was a Twin from 1991 until 1997 when he became a Yankee from 1998-2001. Knoblauch would finish his career in Kansas City in 2002 playing second base and left field in his final two seasons of his big league career. Knoblauch was a huge part of the Yankees World Series championship teams in 1998, 1999, 2000, and the team that almost won it all in 2001. Let’s remember Yankees of the past, Chuck Knoblauch.

Knoblauch would join the Yankees just in time in 1998 and drew praise from Buster Olney right away. Olney wrote that Knoblauch and Derek Jeter would form the greatest double play combination in history. Knoblauch struggled early in 1998 but would hit a career high 17 home runs on a team that won a then American League record 114 games. While Knoblauch will be more remembered for his 1998 postseason error that ensued into an argument with the umpire while the play was still live in the end he still received his first World Series ring with New York to cap off a successful season. “Blauch-head” had his first World Series ring and won his second beating the Atlanta Braves in 1999 and his third consecutive in 2000 when the Yankees beat the Mets in the Subway World Series.

The Yankees won the American League pennant every year Knoblauch was on the team. Knoblauch was one of the more premier defenders in the game until joining New York when he was his own worst enemy in the field. Knoblauch struggled to throw to first base, known as Steve San Syndrome among other things, and by the year 2000 he was moved to designated hitter more than he was in the field. By June of 2000 the Yankees had moved Knoblauch to left field after Chuck made three throwing errors in six innings on June 16. Knoblauch threw one ball so wide of the first baseman that it went into the stand and hit ESPN sportscaster Keith Olbermann’s mother in the head. Knoblauch would voluntarily leave that game and would never return to second base. Joe Torre had moved the struggling infielder to the outfield. Knoblauch would recover in left and ended up scored the game winning run after leading off Game 5 of the 2001 World Series with a single after being knocked in by his replacement at second base in Alfonso Soriano.

Knoblauch may have had his throwing issues, and lord knows he continues to struggle with his legal troubles, but he was a Yankee and an integral part of three World Series titles. Knoblauch was included in the Mitchell Report in 2007 and Knoblauch has always done his time and manned up to his mistakes and you have to respect that. Knoblauch’s most recent legal troubles cost him an induction into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame but you know what, he is still a Yankee and I thank him for that.

Get better soon Chuck! We’re thinking about you!

Yankees No Longer Pursuing Rusney Castillo

According to NorthJersey.com, the Yankees are no longer in the hunt for Rusney Castillo, as his asking price of around $10 million a year is apparently too rich for the Yankees.

Although the idea that it's too much money doesn't sit well with me, I'm not at all upset about not signing the Cuban 2B/OF.

For one, he's not Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu. Castillo is not a "can't miss" prospect. And yes, I said "prospect", because until you play in Major League Baseball, that's all you are. And while the aforementioned Puig and Abreu could have been considered "top" prospects, Rusney Castillo is a second-tier prospect at best.

Another reason I'm not sad by this news is because of youngsters like Rob Refsnyder and Tyler Austin. Those two guys, who are among the better prospects in the Yankees organization, could very well man 2B and RF in the near future.

It's never a good thing to miss out on even a decent prospect, but the Yankees taking themselves out of the Rusney Castillo sweepstakes is not a head-scratcher.

Reminder: Metal Detectors Installed In Bronx Tonight

Just a friendly reminder to all you fans heading out to the ball park tonight as the Yankees host the Houston Astros you may want to leave a little earlier than you normally would. Tonight the Yankees will have metal detectors installed at the entrances to Yankee Stadium as Major League Baseball attempts to get all 30 stadiums to install them. All 30 teams must have these installed by Opening Day for the 2015 season and the Yankees are going to comply starting tonight so leave a few minutes early and expect some delays when entering the stadium.

I moved from the Bronx to Atlanta, Georgia so whenever I go to a ball game I have to go to Turner Field and they have metal detectors and honestly it delays you all of a minute if you get there early enough. It’s your normal routine, put your wallet, cell phone, keys, etc. in the tray and walk through. If you beep the guy with the wand scans your belt buckle and you go on your merry way.

You can decline to go through the metal detector but the guy with the wand will have to scan you before being allowed into the stadium. Unfortunately it’s a necessary evil of the society and world we live in today but it’s hard, in my opinion anyway, to complain about being safer. I bring my wife and my children to these ball games so any added security that isn’t overly inconvenient and border lining on illegal is okay with me.

Go Yankees!

David Phelps May Be On His Way Back

Right at two weeks ago the New York Yankees learned the news that they would be without starting pitcher David Phelps for at least a month. The original plan was to let Phelps rest his elbow for two weeks to try and get the inflammation out of it before beginning a throwing program. Yesterday was two weeks for Phelps and the Yankees seem ready to re-evaluate him and move on to the next step in his rehabilitation.

Phelps may start throwing as early as this week and will likely have to throw for two weeks, presumably including a rehab start or two, before returning to the Yankees rotation. Whatever gets Chris Capuano out of the rotation I am all for. Get well soon David.

ICYMI: Derek Jeter's Head Turned Into A Corn Field

This is kind of cool, mainly because Fall is easily my favorite season and I love corn fields. 
It says "Von Thun Farms Thanks #2 Captain Clutch Magic 98.3"

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/19: Wade Boggs the Knuckelballer

Only three times in major league history have we witnessed three sacrifice flies in one inning and we were treated with the Yankees doing it twice during the 2000 season.One of the rarities happened on a warm night in the Bronx when Jorge Posada, Scott Brosius and Clay Bellinger each had sacrifice flies in one inning. Earlier in the season on June 29, 2000 Jose Vizcaino, Tino Martinez, and Bernie Williams also accomplished the feat.

In case you were wondering the first trio to ever accomplish the feat was the Chicago White Sox teammates Juan Pizarro, Nellie Fox, and Al Smith who accomplished this on July 1, 1962.

Finally on this day in 1997 Wade Boggs made his major league pitching debut throwing 16 knuckleballs and one fastball in a 12-4 Yankees loss to the Angels. Boggs would throw a scoreless eight inning giving up not hits, walking a batter, and striking out Todd Greene to end the inning.