Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Night Open Thread

The New York Yankees are fresh off a four game series with the Oakland Athletics and are preparing, if they aren’t already, for their flight to Seattle to take on the Seattle Mariners. This should be an interesting series as well with the Yankees facing off against notorious Yankees killer Felix Hernandez in Game One, the return of Masahiro Tanaka and all the catching up the team can do with former Yankee Robinson Cano. It ought to be a fun series but it will only be fun if the Yankees can win unlike this series against the Athletics where the team struggled.

But anyway this is an open thread so it doesn’t just have to be baseball we talk about, go crazy. NBA Finals, music, movies, video games, whatever. Have at it. I leave you with this music recommendation like I do in many of these open threads, "Balance" from Smile Empty Soul. My favorite song from my favorite band. Enjoy! 

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/31

Hey a west coast game that I can actually stay up and watch, imagine that. I need one of those jobs where I can work from home and get paid to do it while watching games and hanging out my kids. Anyway, I digress. The Yankees travel out to Oakland for one last time this road trip as they face off with the Athletics at 4:05 pm ET. In the matchup that will be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV and will showcase Adam Warren facing off against Jesse Chavez for the Athletics.

The Yankees are coming home and it will be here before you know it so waste away your New York Rangers blues inside the greatest stadium in the world, Yankee Stadium. Click the Yankees Tickets link above this post to get your set today without any fees or shipping costs associated with the deal. You can always jump on Twitter and follow @GreedyStripes and/or jump on our comments section of the site to chat during each and every game that isn’t played in the middle of the damn night.

With that said I’ll stop rambling here and let Mr. Warren do my talking for me. Go Yankees!

Will The Real Carlos Beltran Please Stand Up?

During Carlos Beltran's big game last night, in which he gave the Yankees the lead with a two-run home run in the 6th inning, and then extended that lead with an RBI single in the 8th, there was some talk about his big May. While Carlos had a poor .162 batting average in April, he raised that number way up to .308 in May. Not only has his batting average gone way up, but after going homerless last month, Beltran has hit four bombs in May.

I couldn't stop myself from replying to a couple of people on Twitter, pointing out that while Beltran has a nice batting average this month, his on-base percentage of .319 isn't. And after reading more on his possible resurgence today, I decided to look deeper into the numbers. As somebody that wouldn't mind seeing the Yankees DFA Carlos and eat the remaining money on his contract, which includes $15 million for next season, I was looking for proof that he does indeed stink. What I found was surprising.

"I suppose I could just turn up the screen resolution, but this magnifying glass works too."

The first thing I found was that while Carlos ran into some bad luck when it came to his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in April, things in that department have normalized in May. Last month his BABIP was a very low .229, but so far in May that stat is right around a players normal mark at .312.

Second, I found that his line drive percentage has jumped quite a bit as well. While is career line drive percentage sits at 21%, that number was down all the way to 14.6% in April. Well, his LD% has also normalized and sits at 25.9% in May. Mind you, that's a little higher than his career number, but it's closer now than it was in April.

The third positive I found while looking at Carlos' stats is that he's not striking out nearly as often. In April he struck out in 28.4% of his at bats, but has cut that down to just 11.7% in May. Again, that strikeout rate is lower than he's seen throughout his career (16.1%), but it's actually much closer than what we saw in his sad month of April.

Finally, and what could be the root of his issue in April, and the reason for his rebound in May, is that he's swinging at fewer pitches outside the strike zone, and swinging at more pitches in the strike zone. It doesn't take a baseball genius to know that if you swing at more good pitches (aka "strikes") than bad pitches (aka "balls"), there's a better chance for success.

In fact, the only negative I found while digging around Beltran's Fangraphs and Baseball Reference pages is that he's not walking much. However, I'm not overly concerned about that, as he wasn't brought to New York because of his ability to draw walks. Nor do the Yankees really need that out of him. No, they need him to drive in runs, and over the past 30 days he's done just that.

I tell you, that is not the result I expected when I started this article. Like I said in the beginning, I would have liked to see the Yankees cut Beltran, but after seeing the numbers I'm looking forward to what happens in June.

"Relax, I got this."

Twitter Poll: Can You Support Two Teams?

While reading and catching up on my news I ran across some Yankees related news that left me with more questions than I had before I had when I started the article. Apparently a man, WIlbor Doss Jr., was caught and charged recently with stealing a baseball hat and a MLB team shirt earlier this week but that’s not the interesting part. The hat was a $10 replica New York Yankees hate while the team shirt was a $12 replica Philadelphia Phillies shirt. Either he was stealing for a friend, a family member etc. or he likes two MLB teams at the same time. Is that even possible?

To be involved in our next Twitter poll head over to Twitter and follow @GreedyStripes and be on the lookout for out next Twitter poll. We will not use your responses without telling you first. Thank you. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/31

For the fourth and final time this week the New York Yankees will travel to Oakland County Coliseum to take on Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics. The Yankees lack of situational hitting, pitching and defense have been exposed this week after sweeping the Kansas City Royals as New York looks to salvage the rubber game of the series. On the mound for New York is Adam Warren who is looking to pitch his way into staying with the rotation this afternoon as he faces off with Jesse Chavez for the Athletics. The game will be played at 4:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

  • Warren is coming into the contest fresh off another strong start against the Kansas City Royals where he allowed just one run on 6.1 IP. Warren received praise from manager Joe Girardi after the start, a start he left after just 88 pitches, as the Yankees manager stated Warren was pitching as well as anyone in the rotation at this point in the season.

  • Chavez comes into the contest still looking for some run support from his club as the RHP is fresh off another tough 1-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers in his last start. Chavez went eight innings allowing just the unearned run in the loss pushing his record to 1-5 and his ERA down to 2.44 on the season.

The Yankees head north to Seattle tomorrow to face off with Felix Hernandez, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and the rest of the Seattle Mariners for another west coast road trip. Hopefully New York will use the energy pulled from facing off against their former second baseman and translate it into a big victory for the Yankees today and going forward. Go Yankees!

Stop Making Excuses for David Carpenter

David Carpenter was brought in along with Chasen Shreve to give the Yankees a right handed 7th inning bullpen arm to replace Adam Warren in the pen while he filled in for Chris Capuano in the starting rotation. The trade cost the Yankees LHP prospect Manny Banuelos and while Shreve has been okay and Banuelos has been great, albeit in Triple-A, Carpenter has simply been horrible for the Yankees this season. At one point Carpenter was not being used nearly enough and had obvious signs of rust when he entered into ball games but has been used more frequently and regularly over the past few weeks with similar results. When is the Yankees organization, manager and GM going to stop making excuses for Carpenter and simply admit that he may not be the best option in late and meaningful games anymore?

While Carpenter’s stat line won’t reflect it much that loss in the first game of the series with the Athletics is on him and Joe Girardi’s binder. CC Sabathia left two runners on with nobody out when he was lifted late in that game but it was Carpenter who gave up the inherited runs for the club and essentially lost the game. Sabathia got the loss, the binder lost some more respect among the fans but the real loser here has been Carpenter. This is not the only instance I could bring up but if you’re reading this and you’re watching the games then you already know what’s going on. The Yankees have the best and some of the most knowledgeable, and emotional, fans in all of Major League Baseball in my humble opinion thus making me harping on and beating a dead horse even more not really that necessary.

So how do you fix it? Honestly Carpenter is not a terrible relief pitcher, and adventure yes but not terrible, so I’m not advocating getting him off the team entirely. I am advocating for him to be used in non-leverage situations. You have Jacob Lindgren in the bullpen, although he simply just didn’t have it in his last outing but you can chalk that up to growing pains for a rookie, and you have Shreve, Miller and Betances who can take a lot of the innings. With Masahiro Tanaka coming back you may see the return of Warren to the bullpen who can also bridge the gap to the twin towers the Yankees have in their bullpen or you can simply wait on a Chris Martin return off the disabled list but one thing is for sure you absolutely cannot keep throwing Carpenter out there late in games anymore. He’s not tired, he’s not overworked, he’s far from underworked and he’s not rusty. He’s ineffective, he’s lost his confidence, he’s lost his command and control and he’s out of excuses so stop making them. 

TGP Daily Poll: King Felix Owns Yankees

King Felix Hernandez has absolutely destroyed the New York Yankees in his career with the Seattle Mariners and may be pitching some of his best baseball of his career in 2015. This is not a great recipe for the Yankees and will lead to another loss.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Yes I’m looking ahead a bit with one more game against Oakland but what can you do?

Weekly Check In: Luis Severino

Luis Severino is fresh off the disabled list after battling a blister problem on his throwing hand and is also fresh off a promotion to Triple-A. Does this promotion to the Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders mean he is on the fast track to the major leagues? That much remains to be seen but his stats in the minor leagues, these stats I will show you today, are obviously being seen by the Yankees brass.

4 Seasons16112.3956259.120886698642731.0497.

This Day in New York Yankees History 5/31: The Curse of the Drilled Bambino

On this day in 2001 the Boston Red Sox finally beat the New York Yankees for the first time since Pedro Martinez laughed off the Curse of the Bambino. On this day yesterday in 2000 Martinez, who was 7-1 with a 1.44 ERA, said that someone should "Wake up the Bambino and let me face him, I'll drill him in the $@#." After the comment the Red Sox lost seven consecutive games against the Yankees.

Also on this day in 1938 Yankees first basemen Lou Gehrig played in his 2000th consecutive game and collected an RBI single. The Yankees would beat the Red Sox 12-5 on this day.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/30

Another day and another late night start for the New York Yankees as they travel to the Oakland Coliseum to take on the Oakland Athletics. This is the third game of a four game set with the finale coming tomorrow afternoon in a day game. At least tonight’s start that showcases Nathan Eovaldi facing off with Jesse Hahn is on a Saturday and I can catch most, if not all, of the game. The contest will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees are still about a week away from returning home to the Bronx so you have no excuses not to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog and have your Yankees tickets in hand when the team returns home to Yankee Stadium. If not, no biggie, just join us on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and/or on the comments section of the site to arm-chair quarterback like the rest of us.

Mr. Eovaldi will take it from here. Go Yankees!!

Girardi: Yankees are lucky to be in first place

After watching them drop a second straight game to the A's, it's easy to wonder if the Yankees deserve their first-place spot in the standings.

The club -- now just 25-24 following a 4-12 stretch -- has struggled both offensively and rotation-wise of late, leading many to believe luck is the reason for their early success.

Many including Joe Girardi, apparently, with the manager saying Friday the slumping Yanks are fortunate to be where they are.

"I think so," Girardi told The LoHud Yankees Blog. "Especially the way we've struggled the last two weeks."

The Yankees had lost 10 of 11 prior to this week's sweep of the Royals, and with the Orioles beginning to look better, they need to improve soon.

New York will visit the surging Mariners on Monday, a matchup that doesn't appear to favor them. Seattle has not been defeated in a home series since April 24-26, when the surprise Twins won 2/3.

The AL East remains one of baseball's weakest divisions, however, so the Yankees still have an opportunity to turn it around.

"Our division right now is up for grabs," Girardi said. "We need to take advantage of that."

While We Wait: Brewers Go High Tech for Bud Selig Tribute

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers are giving retired baseball commissioner and former team owner Bud Selig a high-tech tribute.

"The Selig Experience" attraction at Miller Park was unveiled to Selig, current Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and other dignitaries on Thursday night. Selig described the exhibit as an "out-of-body experience."

"When I look at all this, I say to you all, 'Boy, have I been lucky,'" Selig said on a stage set in center field set against the backdrop of the team's giant video board. The Brewers were off on Thursday.

Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Joe Torre and Robin Yount attended the event, along with Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy, University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, and current MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

The highlight of the attraction is a remarkably realistic, hologram-like video of Selig displayed at the end of a nearly 15-minute multimedia presentation recapping the history of the franchise.

"I'm telling you that when I saw it, I couldn't believe it," Selig marveled.

The holographic Selig speaks in a scene replicating his messy office at old County Stadium, with a simulated Tiparillo cigar lying smoldering in an ashtray.

"Bud, this ensures your spirit will live forever at Miller Park," Attanasio said during a dedication ceremony.

Selig's title is now "commissioner emeritus" after a tenure of 22½ years as baseball's leader ended in January.

His place in Milwaukee baseball history was cemented long before he became commissioner.

Now 80, Selig led efforts to bring baseball back to his hometown after Milwaukee lost the Braves to Atlanta after the 1965 season. He finally succeeded in 1970, when the Seattle Pilots moved to the Midwest and became the Brewers.

The exhibit starts with video walls of old Brewers baseball cards. Visitors then pass Selig's replica office before entering a memorabilia-lined room.

Included are the lineup cards for the Brewers and visiting Cincinnati Reds from April 6, 2001, the day that Miller Park opened. Selig also led the drive to build the retractable-roof stadium.

The park isn't quite as high tech as the exhibit's life-like hologram of Selig, who appears thanking fans before the video closes with him shuffling his hands into his khaki pants.

Selig said he spent four hours posing during spring training in Phoenix for the hologram.

"When I saw the hologram, I would say my heart went in my mouth," Attanasio joked. "I knew it was coming. It was like going to a scary movie."

The exhibit opens to the public Friday, when the Brewers open a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

MLB: Top 10 Highest Paid Players in 2015

The owner of the New York Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner, has felt compelled to defend his "cheap" stance multiple times since taking over control of the team from his father, George Steinbrenner, by quickly pointing out the Yankees payroll annually. While ignoring the fact that many of the deals that Hal is using as examples for not being cheap were signed under George's regime the son of The Boss may or may not have some backing when looking at the Top 10 highest paid players in all of Major League Baseball for the 2015 season.

Here's the list:

1. Clayton Kershaw - $31 million - Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Justin Verlander - $28 million - Detroit Tigers
3. Zack Greinke - $27 million - Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Ryan Howard - $25 million - Philadelphia Phillies
5. Cliff Lee - $25 million - Philadelphia Phillies
6. Felix Hernandez - $24.85 million - Seattle Mariners
7. Albert Pujols - $24 million - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
8. Robinson Cano - $24 million - Seattle Mariners
9. Prince Fielder - $24 million - Texas Rangers
10. CC Sabathia - $24 million - New York Yankees

This is surprisingly not a very Yankee heavy list with the only member of the team, Sabathia, being signed by George, not Hal. Is Hal cheap or not? You decide.

I'm Beginning to Worry about Jacoby Ellsbury

On May 19th the New York Yankees lost Jacoby Ellsbury to a knee injury that he suffered while swinging the bat, while that was right at 11 days ago now it feels like it's been much longer. Almost 11 days later now I haven't even seen a definitive diagnosis let alone a timetable for his return to the Yankees lineup and outfield. Anyone else starting to worry about Ellsbury, his knee and how long he may be out with this injury? I know I am...

The Yankees have a habit of downplaying these types of injuries so excuse me if Joe Girardi's "hopes" that the team will have him back within a month doesn't instill the faith in me. Ellsbury is a speedy type defender and a base stealer meaning that any potential leg injury could really affect his season and the way he plays the game. With the team not coming out and saying this is strained or this is torn or this needs surgery I am beginning to worry that the team is using the recent hot streak as a way to mask and avoid the questions regarding the injury. 

While I'm all for giving the Yankees prospects a chance in situations like this, and I am glad to see Slade Heathcott getting his cup of coffee as much as I would be if Ramon Flores, Mason Williams or Ben Gamel were getting their chances, I still want Ellsbury hitting at the top of my order if I am filling out the lineup card. Tell me something, I'm beginning to worry.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/30

Tonight the New York Yankees make their third trip out of four to the Oakland Coliseum to take on Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics. There has been plenty of pitching to go around thus far in the series as the spacious Oak. Co. has lived up to the hype of being a pitcher’s park this season. Tonight pitching for the Yankees is Nathan Eovaldi who is surely to benefit from all that extra foul ground and the spacious outfields while he is taking on Jesse Hahn and the A’s. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

  • Eovaldi had possibly his best start in pinstripes last time out when he pitched into the 8th inning on Memorial Day against the Kansas City Royals. Eovaldi allowed just one run in the start and will look to build on that in his start tonight against the Athletics, a team he has faced just two times in his short major league career.

  • Hahn is coming off possibly his best start of the season last time out where he tossed a four-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory on Memorial Day over the Detroit Tigers. The RHP has allowed five earned runs in his last three starts combined dropping his ERA from 4.73 to 3.69.

The Yankees have one more contest with the Athletics tomorrow afternoon before jumping on a plane to face off with King Felix, Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees schedule softens up as we enter the month of June which can’t be a bad thing for the Bronx Bombers going forward. Take advantage, go Yankees!!

Yankees Dominican Summer League Rosters

by: Ben Embry

The Dominican Summer League starts today.  Like previous years, the Yankees will be fielding two teams.  As you'll recall, New York invested over $30 million in several international free agents, (IFA for short), last July in an unprecedented spending spree.   By most accounts, New York signed 10 of the top 30 IFA, including highly touted prospects SS/3B Dermis Garcia, CF/RF Juan de Leon, and 3B Nelson Gomez.  Of the 10 elite prospects signed, all but Dermis Garcia and 18 year old Korean SS Hy-Joon Park are starting their summers in the Dominican, (see the rosters here: DSL Yankees 1 and DSL Yankees 2).  Here are the main prospects:

DSL Yankees 1
SS Diego Castillo
SS Wilkerman Garcia
3B Nelson Gomez

DSL Yankees 2
C Miguel Flames
RF Jonathan Amundaray
CF Antonio Arias
CF/RF Juan de Leon
RF/LF Brayan Emery

Honestly, I expected most of these players to begin their careers in the United States playing in the Gulf Coast League.  That season does not start for another 2-3 weeks, so I guess it's possible that they will play a handful of games here before coming up to the GCL.  However, most of  the times prospects play whole seasons in the Dominican and do not make that transition in the middle of a season.  If anything, I'm guessing anybody who comes up will do so in July or August.

There are a handful of other prospects on these rosters worth noting, including two prospects who made my Preseason top 30 lists for hitters and pitchers: #30 hitter SS Yonauris Rodriguez and #29 SP Orby Tavares.  The Yankees signed 8 other players last summer to 6 figure contracts that I will be tracking this summer: C Jason Lopez, CF Lisandro Blanco, RF Leobaldo Cabrera, RF/LF Frederick Cuevas, and CF Pablo Olivares on DSL Yankees 1 and SS/2B Griffin Garabito, SS Danienger Perez, and CF Raymundo Moreno on DSL Yankees 2.

Keith Law's Mock 2015 MLB Draft

Keith Law is not a name and a source that I generally trust when it comes to prospects only because of his dislike for certain New York prospects, namely Luis Severino, but when he talks about the MLB First Year Player's Draft I tend to put my differences aside. Law knows the MLB Draft as well as or better than most so when he released his 2015 MLB Mock Draft V 2.0 I felt compelled to read and then leave that here for you to read as well. As we all know the Yankees have three picks in the first 60 or so picks and an absolute ton of cap space to spend on their picks this season. The Yankees related results are below only since the article requires subscriptions. Enjoy as much as you can and if you like it then go buy a subscription because Law puts in a ton of work into these mock drafts and generally everything that he does.

With the Yankees first pick, 16th overall, Law has the Yankees taking California High School LHP Kolby Allard after having the team take Pennsylvania High School RHP Mike Nikorak in his first mock version. Allard was considered to be the best left handed arm in the draft before missing two months this season with a stress reaction in his back that caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Allard has two plus pitches with a fastball that can touch 96 MPH and a tight curveball to go along with his raw changeup. Allard has a smaller build, think Severino, and may need to go to the bullpen before his career is said and done.

With the 30th pick the team may be interested in California High School catcher Chris Betts, New York High School outfielder Garrett Whitley or Tennessee High School RHP Donny Everett.

TGP Daily Poll: Mr. Eovaldi Shows His Ugly Mug

I have made a running joke about the inconsistency of Nathan Eovaldi this season calling him Dr. Jekyll when he pitches poorly and Mr. Eovaldi when he pitches well. Tonight in Oakland I think we will see Mr. Eovaldi mow down some Athletics.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Weekly Check in: Jorge Mateo

Jorge Mateo may still be the best shortstop on the Yankees, major leagues and minor leagues included, despite still being in the lower levels of the Yankees system. Mateo defends well, takes his walks, runs the bases well, steals bases and has what seems to be a great general baseball IQ. One thing that was not mentioned was the hitting aspect of his game, something he still needs to work on if he wants to be more than a speedy Brendan Ryan in his career.

You can see what I mean with the Ryan comparisons by looking at this stat line: 


This Day in New York Yankees History 5/30: A Rod in the Middle of a Controversy

On this day in 2007 in Toronto a Jorge Posada pop out falls in between Howie Clark and John McDonald allowing Alex Rodriguez to score on the play. A Rod yelled that he got it while running by and tricked both the Blue Jays infielders in a "Bush League" move.

Also on this day in 2001 when the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry was possibly at its highest and Pedro Martinez spoke up about the Curse of the Bambino? If you don't it was after Martinez ended a streak of five straight losses against New York and was making light of the curse. Martinez states that he wished someone would wake up Babe Ruth so he could drill him with a pitch. Long story short the Red Sox would not beat the Yankees again during the final seven meetings of the 2001 season. But there was no curse, the Red Sox just sucked for 86 years... right.

Also on this day in 1992 the Yankees Scott Sanderson beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-1 to become the ninth pitcher to defeat all 26 teams in the major leagues at the time. Sanderson joins Nolan Ryan, Tommy John, Don Sutton, Mike Torrez, Rick Wise, Gaylord Perry, Doyle Alexander, and Goose Gossage with the feat.

Also on this day in 1956 Mickey Mantle came within 18 inches of becoming the first player to hit a home run out of Yankee Stadium. The blast came off the Washington Senators Pedro Ramos and the ball was still climbing when it hit the facade in the upper right field stands.

Also on this day in 1938 the Yankees set a new record for attendance at Yankee Stadium drawing 81,841 fans in a double header with the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees would win both games sweeping the Red Sox in the double bill.

Also on this day in 1935 Babe Ruth, a member of the Boston Braves, plays in his last major league game of his career. Ruth, at Baker Bowl, does not get in a hit in his first inning at bat against the Phillies. On June 2 of that year the former Yankee All Star and super star would call it a career officially.

Also on this day in 1934 the Yankees Ben Chapman broke up Earl Whitehill's no hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. This is significant because in the 1933 season Chapman, albeit provoked, hit Whitehill with a punch in the passageway causing a 20 minute brawl that needed the police to restore order. I guess he broke something up twice, huh?

Finally on this day in 1932 the New York Yankees honored former manager Miller Huggins in a pre-game ceremony. The former Yankees manager died near the end of last season and had received a plaque in his memory. The Yankees would sweep both games in the double header with the Boston Red Sox.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/29

You know you used to see those commercials about getting the 2:00 feeling while you’re at work and they suggested this miracle product that would hype you up for the rest of the day? If I stayed up and watched this game tonight I would need about nine of those, oh and a new heart, to make it through my day tomorrow. No thanks. Anyway the Yankees and the Athletics matchup for the second time this week as a part of their four game set inside the Oakland Coliseum. Tonight the Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound to face off with the A’s Sonny Gray. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

Get your Yankees tickets right here on the blog before New York comes home to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium. Click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to get yours through our partnership with Ticket Monster. If you can’t make it live then that’s not an issue just jump on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and/or the comments section to interact with us during each and every game, except for West Coast games obviously, because it’s almost just like being there in person.

Mr. Capuano will take it from here. Go Yankees!!

Slade Heathcott to DL, Ramon Flores to be Called Up

The New York yankees have added Slade Heathcott to the 15 day disabled list with a Grade II quad strain. To fill his roster spot the team will call up Ramon Flores and will have the outfielder on the team for tomorrow night's game. Flores is on the 40 man roster and a roster move will not be needed to accommodate the move.

While We Wait: What Happened to Bryce Harper?

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper drove a Jon Lester fastball over the left-field fence at Wrigley Field on Wednesday for his 18th home run of the season and his 13th in his last 19 games.
Harper, now 22, played very well for most of his first three seasons in the Majors and frequently flashed the type of potential that made him a Sports Illustrated cover boy at only 16 years old. But the young star has never before enjoyed a stretch this long of production this great.

With the Nats now 47 games deep into their 2015 campaign, Harper already has more homers and more extra-base hits than he tallied across 100 games in an injury-riddled 2014 season. He is on pace for 63 homers this season, and if he could somehow maintain his 13-homers-in-19-games clip the rest of the way — and he almost certainly won’t, naturally — he would finish with 78.

It’s nuts. Harper has started the season so well that only an injury or an unprecedented slump will keep it from being by far the best of his young career. And a look at some of Harper’s numbers suggests the difference has come from improved plate discipline.

Check this out: In the early part of 2015, Harper saw significantly more pitches per plate appearances (P/PA) than he ever did in the past — jumping from a slightly above average 3.89 figure to a 4.36 mark that ranks second in the Majors. Harper has swung less frequently and walked far more often.
And though it could be in part a function of the pitchers he has faced to date, Harper has seen a higher percentage of fastballs — the pitch on which he does the most damage — than he ever did earlier in his career. His percentage of hard-hit balls, as tracked by Baseball Info Solutions, has spiked in turn. From the looks of the numbers, Harper is doing a much better job choosing when to swing than he did in the past — “hunting his pitches,” to echo a phrase frequently used by veteran MLB hitting coach Dave Hudgens.

Of course, there’s some chicken-and-eggery at play here. Harper, for his part, told the Washington Post earlier this month that the only difference has been his health:

“This is what I was like in high school and college,” said Harper, who twice had four-homer games at the College of Southern Nevada, where he hit 31 homers in 66 games in 2010. “That’s what people don’t understand. I was healthy. Staying healthy is what I need to do. This is the type of player I need to be and the type of player I want to be. Everybody talks about how I’m doing this different or I’m doing that different. There’s nothing different. It’s staying healthy and staying in the lineup. Truly….
“I feel like the approach, the plan, it’s always been there,” Harper said. “But I’m finally sticking to it because I’m not getting hurt and staying healthy. It’s allowing me to stay in the games every single day and staying with my routine every single day and not getting sidetracked because I’m hurt and out a game and play two and then out for a month and a half and come back and play.”

Could it be that good health and more regular reps alone have contributed to Harper’s apparently improved batting eye? Certainly. He obviously looks more comfortable at the plate than ever before, and it could easily be that the various ailments he sustained the last few years sapped some of his power or impacted his mechanics in a way that forced him to start swinging sooner.

On MLB Network, analyst Darryl Hamilton cued up video of Harper’s swing to show the slugger keeping his weight back longer this season to generate more power. But again, since Harper typically doesn’t say much about the particulars of his mechanics at the plate, it’s hard to know which of the adjustments he made were made possible by the better health he credits for the difference.

In any case, whatever has happened to Bryce Harper this season has now been happening long enough that it can no longer be dismissed as just a fluky early-season hot stretch. By whatever means or combination of them, Harper has become a more selective hitter in 2015, swinging less frequently and hitting the ball harder when he does.

And though this is not to slight Harper — who seems to know as much about baseball as anyone playing it — but it could be that the change plays out so subtly on the day-to-day that he himself is not even conscious of it. The difference between 3.9 and 4.4 pitches per plate appearance, after all, is less than one extra pitch across every two at-bats. Maybe Harper is just maturing as a hitter, seeing pitches better and hitting them harder as he grows bigger, faster, stronger and more experienced.
What we are watching, most likely, is a great young hitter blossoming into a great hitter. Harper may not maintain his Ruthian home-run rate and on-base percentage all year, but if he can stay healthy and maintain his apparently improved process, the Nationals should benefit from significantly improved results all season long.

Make Garrett Jones a St. Louis Cardinal

If it seems like I may or may not be picking on Garrett Jones today there is probably a pretty good reason for his, he deserves it. His stat line has been less than impressive, albeit in a small sample size, offensively and he adds almost zero to the team defensively making him a liability and a waste of a roster spot. You guys and girls know me by now, I’m not one to equivocate (words with friends for the win), and I don’t like to beat around the bush. The St. Louis Cardinals lost their everyday first baseman Matt Adams to a quad tear and the Yankees have a first baseman in Jones that they really don’t use or need, is it time to make a deal?

The Cardinals have Mark Reynolds, former New York Yankee, currently taking up the position and at worst Jones and Reynolds could platoon at the position giving the Cardinals enough offense and defense to get by until the trading deadline. The Cardinals could also use Jones in the outfield and off the bench against right handed hitters adding some much needed versatility to a team that loves versatile players.

In return I’m sure the Cardinals have some sort of bullpen pitcher or minor league power arm to give back to the Yankees that can make an immediate impact in New York. If not, who cares? Jones is off the team and the Yankees can upgrade in a trade, with another prospects call up or by keeping Slade Heathcott on the roster. It’s a win, win, win.

Twitter Poll: Jacob Lindgren Gets Used, True or False

We haven’t done one of these this week surprisingly, and I say surprisingly because I really enjoy doing these and so do the people that see their names and their tweets on the blog, so we will right that wrong today with another twitter poll. It seems like the Yankees manager Joe Girardi would only use his new lefty Jacob Lindgren in a blowout situation but I think I can be a little too emotional and pessimistic in these situations so I posed the question to you. Will the Yankees actually learn to trust Lindgren and use him in a non-blowout situation?

To be involved in our next twitter poll hop on over to the app and give @GreedyStripes a follow and be on the lookout for our next twitter poll. We will never use your responses without informing you first!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/29

The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics will play in the second game of their four game set this week inside the Oakland Coliseum. Tonight the Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound to face off with the Athletics lefty Sonny Gray. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Capuano has made two starts for the Yankees since returning from the disabled list and has not made it through five innings in either of them. Capuano gave up three runs, two of them earned, in his last start in 4.1 IP against the Texas Rangers, another loss for New York.

  • Gray was hit by a ball in his right ankle in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays which cause him to leave the start early. Gray was diagnosed with a bone contusion, also known as a bruise, after throwing five scoreless innings.

Which Capuano will we see tonight? Hopefully we see the former Capuano that kept the team in games last season and gave the team a chance to win and not the latter or the 2015 version we've seen to date. If it’s the former then the Yankees are in trouble with a tough pitcher on the mound in Gray while if it’s the latter then he can give the team length saving the bullpen while giving the team a chance to win every time. Again, let’s hope it’s the latter. Go Yankees!!

Yankees Should Trade Garrett Jones to Tampa Bay

The New York Yankees have played terribly of late, especially before the series sweep of the Kansas City Royals, let's not mince words, but have thankfully the team has managed to stick around in the American League East division race. The Tampa Bay Rays have struggled thankfully and have been hit from the injury bug recently including injuries to outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and first baseman James Loney. While the Yankees cannot be upset about the injury to Loney, a notorious Yankees killer, the team may be able to kill two birds with one stone while helping out the Rays at the same time by sending Garrett Jones in a trade to the Tampa Bay Rays for, well basically anything.

Jones has been terrible with New York, again let's not mince words, but has been a little better of late with the bat at least making him worth a potential trade for Tampa Bay. Jones is listed as a first baseman, the position that Loney has left vacated recently with his broken finger, and well as an outfielder, primarily a right fielder, and a part time pitcher giving Rays manager Kevin Cash a little to work with defensively. While Jones is not great offensively or defensively in either position by any means he may be a better option then what the team is currently employing at the position.The trade would give the Rays a warm body while giving the Yankees another automatic out in the Tampa Bay lineup with another defensive liability to pick on when these two teams face off head-to-head.

The Yankees will also benefit from an addition by subtraction as it would allow the team to keep Slade Heathcott on the major league roster even after Jacoby Ellsbury returns from the disabled list. Jones has been serving as the backup first baseman this season but with Chase Headley, Brian McCann, Alex Rodriguez and eventually Brendan Ryan on the roster as more than capable back up first base it won't be a huge deal offensively if Mark Teixeira needs a day off or two. With Chris Young, Heathcott and the rest of the Yankees outfield the team can give everyone ample playing time and can substitute for defense later into games for the aging Carlos Beltran by keeping Heathcott on the roster and removing Jones from the active roster with the trade.

I'm usually not for helping out an opposing team and a team that New York could potentially be chasing in the AL East division but this deal is a win-win for the Yankees. The team opens a roster spot up for a younger, better and more deserving player while potentially making the Rays worse overall both offensively and defensively. It reminds me a lot of what the Red Sox did to Brian Cashman last year when they traded the team Stephen Drew so he could suck it up last season and this season as well.

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Struggle against Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray is a good pitcher and has given the Yankees fits over his career with the Athletics and he will do just that again tonight inside the Oakland Coliseum. Gray will go at least six innings and give up two runs or less.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Weekly Check in: Robert Refsnyder

Robert Refsnyder is still in Triple-A, check. Stephen Drew still sucks, check. Jose Pirela is still rotting on the bench although he did kind of dig his own hole defensively at second base, check. Refsnyder is still tearing up Triple-A pitching at an incredible clip, check. Refsnyder’s defense is still suspect, check, but improving, check. If the team were not winning and were not in first place I think I would be a little more upset than I am but I hate the fact that the talent is masking the obvious bad decisions made by the manager and upper management, specifically when it comes to Refsnyder’s development. What’s another drum beating for our second baseman of the future, right?