Friday, September 5, 2014

Pineda Throws Gem, But Offensive Problems Doom Yankees in Opening Loss to Royals

Michael Pineda gave up no earned runs in 7 innings and the Dellin Betances/David Robertson duo followed him with a pair of scoreless at-bats, but since the offense simply didn't show up again the Yankees uglily lost to the Royals tonight, 1-0, in the series opener in the Bronx. 

For the Yanks, in spite of the fact that yesterday's game ended with a walk-off homer, the contest was the second consecutive one in which they didn't give Pineda any support, something especially frustrating considering the way Kansas City scored in the top of the third.

Facing Pineda with one out and nobody on in that frame, Alcides Escobar hit a hard grounder right at Chase Headley, a play the latter usually makes in his sleep.

Nonetheless, for some reason Headley let the ball skip over his glove, an error that put Escobar at second to eventually set up a go-ahead single by Nori Aoki.

In other words, the guy who was the hero yesterday suddenly became the villain this evening, a misfortune that definitely helped out Royals' Starter James Shields, who impressively shutout the Yanks for 8 1/3 innings before Wade Davis closed things out in the ninth.

Kelley Shrugs Off Bullpen's Recent Success: "That's What We're Supposed to Do"

Over the course of this overall-dissapointing season, it's been obvious to us all that the Yankees' bullpen has been their biggest strength.

From the recurring dominance of David Robertson and Dellin Betances to the numerous contributions of Adam Warren and David Huff, the Yanks' relievers have definitely helped win a lot of games this season, a trend that only continued yesterday with 4 2/3 shutout innings of the Red Sox. 

Nonetheless, RHP Shawn Kelley, another guy who's been great this year, isn't that excited about his group's recent successes, surprisingly telling the New York Post so after yesterday's win.

“That’s what we’re asked to do,” Kelley said following his scoreless four-out performance. “Whether it’s an inning or two or four or five, you just try to keep them down and then the hitters came through in the ninth.” 

Yes, that is in fact true, as no hurler wants to struggle. Still, it'd be weird of the offense to not at least acknowledge what the 'pen accomplished in the contest, something DH Carlos Beltran fortunately did later.

“Those guys were unbelievable,” Beltran said. “Everyone who came in did the job, and that’s the way it’s been pretty much all year.” 

If only the bats would play the same way...

Yankees Outright Zoilo Almonte To Triple-A

Zoilo Almonte has cleared waivers after being designated for assignment and has been outrighted to Triple-A with the Scranton RailRiders. Correct me if I am wrong but I don't believe Zoilo can deny his assignment and cannot elect free agency so he is with the Yankees at least until the end of the season. This is better than losing the switch hitter for nothing (yes I realize and agree that Antoan Richardson is nothing).

9/4 Yankees Open Thread vs. Kansas City Royals

Welcome to tonight’s open thread for the first of the three game set between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals. The Yankees are in must win territory now in the AL East and second Wild Card chase so tonight, like every remaining game, is extremely important for New York. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda and all his swag to the mound to face off with the Royals James Shields. 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 off the blog today to see DerekJeter in his final games of his career. Also be sure to follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and like our page on Facebook by searching for The Greedy Pinstripes.

It’s an open thread so please use the comments section to talk about whatever you would like, especially the Yankees. Enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your evening. As always, go Yankees!!

9/5 Yankees Game Thread vs. Kansas City Royals

The New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals will start up a huge three game set this week at Yankee Stadium tonight in another must win game for the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking for this must win and he will be facing off with the Royals ace “Big Game” James Shields. 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.

Pineda only six runs in 23.1 inning since coming off the disabled list with his teres major muscle strain in his right throwing shoulder. Pineda has allowed just 18 hits and one walk while striking out 15 batters, an impressive line that he looks to improve tonight in the Bronx. 

Shields is coming off a no decision against the Cleveland Indians where he allowed just one run in seven innings. Kansas City ultimately lost the game 3-2 in extra innings. Shields has already lost once to the New York Yankees and Michael Pineda in the past few weeks in the makeup game later in August. 

Go Yankees!!

Thinking About 2015: The Fourth or Fifth Outfielder

Here I go again thinking about 2015 and looking past the 2014 season while it’s still going on but I can’t help it. The product on the field this season has not lived up to the fan’s and owner’s expectations and I want to ensure that the team does not miss the postseason for a third consecutive season. While I know, although I have no proof, that members of the New York Yankees front office read my stuff I will use that to my advantage and slip them a few ideas from time to time, like who the team should bring in to essentially replace Ichiro Suzuki on the team next year on the bench as either a fourth or fifth outfielder. The drum beating continues today and will all offseason for centerfielder and former All Star Grady Sizemore.

For the past couple of off seasons I have called the name Grady Sizemore like he was the second coming of Derek Jeter and while his time in Boston last year made me back off that stance a little it has not swayed me enough to turn the page. Sizemore was stellar for Boston during spring training and had a hot start to the season only to cool down, come back down to Earth, and ultimately get designated for assignment by the team. Sizemore quickly latched on with the Philadelphia Phillies on a minor league deal and continued his comeback season. In 2015 I want Sizemore winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award for the New York Yankees, not some other club.

Sizemore is capable of playing all three outfield positions and is still relatively young at age 32 making him an attractive piece for 2015. We all know Joe Girardi isn’t going to use Antoan Richardson, Ramon Flores, or Zoilo Almonte if he somehow makes it back onto the roster so why not at least bring in a guy that makes some sense in Sizemore. 

Are More Reinforcements On The Way?

When September 1st comes around teams around Major League Baseball have the ability to call up an additional 15 players to their active roster when rosters expand from 25 players to 40. The Yankees called up eight players before their first game of September this Tuesday which begs the question, are the Yankees done or are more reinforcements on the way?

The quick answer is I believe New York may be done. None of their minor league affiliates are eligible for postseason play except for the GCL teams (and they may be done by the time this comes out, I’m not sure) so it’s not like the team is waiting for seasons to wrap up to call up other players. Also the list of players that could come up are far from “sure things” which also complicates things. The Yankees are facing a serious 40 man roster crunch and to make a move prematurely for a guy like Tyler Austin (who has to be protected this winter anyway), Jacob Lindgren, or Robert Refsnyder just don’t make sense from a business standpoint.

As much as I would like to see Kyle Roller, who also has to be protected this winter from the Rule 5 Draft, Austin, Refsnyder, Jose Pirela (another Rule 5 guy and potential minor league free agent), or Jacob Lindgren I just can’t see it happening. Also with injuries to Jose Ramirez, Slade Heathcott (who is on the 60 day DL), Jose Campos (who the Yankees don’t want earning service time), and Manny Banuelos still working back from Tommy John surgery I think the Yankees called up what they could and that’s going to be it.

New York could conceivably call up an Austin Romine, who deserves to be here anyway, or a Ramon Flores but the idea is pretty unlikely. This is all the team is going to get to its time to put up or shut up when it comes to the division and second wild card race. 

Thinking About 2015: The Starting Rotation

It is looking more and more likely that the New York Yankees will miss the postseason for the second consecutive season even after spending in excess of $500 million in free agent contracts in the offseason. When the Yankees fall out of contention I tend to start thinking about the next season just a little and try and plan out how the team can avoid this kind of disappointment in 2015. The Yankees starting rotation is going to be littered with question marks heading into the 2015 season with health questions for CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Masahiro Tanaka specifically.

Keeping the health questions in mind New York will need to have as much depth as they can stashed away in Triple-A and in the bullpen for next season. Taking into consideration all the options New York currently has at their disposal mixed in with the question marks the Yankees may be stacked at pitching next season.

The starting rotation looks to consist of CC Sabathia at the top followed by, in no particular order, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Shane Greene. It is extremely likely that New York brings back Brandon McCarthy to essentially replace the retiring and/or free agent Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation as well. New York also has Chase Whitley, Manny Banuelos, Bryan Mitchell, David Phelps and others already on the roster to potentially fight for a roster spot or work out of the bullpen.

As much as this is going to shock many I think New York should go with what they currently have in 2015 and avoid the free agency trap that is Jon Lester or Max Scherzer. If New York could get James Shields on a smaller termed deal, three years or less, than I would be more than willing to make room in the rotation for him by either trading a Shane Greene or not bringing back a Brandon McCarthy. Other than that I think the Yankees starting rotation is pretty much written in pen, hole punched, and placed in the 2015 version of Joe Girardi’s binder already. 

Quick Hit: Carlos Beltran Plans Offseason Elbow Surgery

This should come to the surprise of nobody but it was announced yesterday evening that Carlos Beltran expected to undergo offseason surgery to clean up the bone spurs in his throwing elbow. Beltran has battled the elbow injury all season long and even got three cortisone shots in the elbow to try and help alleviate the pain. Beltran’s production has obviously suffered due to the elbow so this could help Beltran next season.

Beltran, if all goes as planned, would be healthy and available for Spring Training 2015 and able to play right field next season without complications. It’s not surprising news but it is great news for the Yankees since they have two years and around $30 million left on the soon to be 38 year olds contract. 

Remembering Cal Ripken Jr. The Iron Man

It was 19 years ago today that Cal Ripken Jr. went out onto the field in Oriole Park at Camden Yards against the New York Yankees like he had for the better part of over 2,000 games. Ripken had played in 2,129 consecutive games in his career before heading out for the bottom of the fifth inning. When Ripken went out to take his position the game became official, his 2,130th consecutive game. This is significant because Cal would tie the Yankees legend and "Iron Horse" Lou Gehrig.

Ripken received a standing ovation for over five minutes from the sellout crowd when he tied the record. Love or hate the Orioles but you just can't hate Cal Ripken Jr. Have a good Friday Yankees family.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/5: Bob Sheppard Works His Final Game

Unknown to the Yankees, their fans, and Bob Sheppard at the time the "Voice of God" worked his last game as the team's P.A. announcer at Yankee Stadium in 2007. This was Sheppard's 4,500th time since taking over the job in 1951. Jim Hall and Paul Olden would replace Sheppard when the team moves to the new Yankee Stadium in 2009.

During the game Alex Rodriguez became only the  fourth player in Yankees history to hit a home run twice in the same inning. What made this 10-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners even more spectacular was the fact that A Rod had gone to the hospital to have his sore right ankle examined and had to talk his way into the lineup before the game.

Also on this day in 1989 Deion Sanders, the Yankees rookie, hit a home run as the Yankees routed the Seattle Mariners 12-2. Five days later the rookie Atlanta Falcons player would make his NFL debut and would return a punt 68 yards for a touchdown. #Athlete.