Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Recap: Yankees 9, Tigers 8

Esmil Rogers had probably his worst start of the spring, surrendering five runs in just three innings as the Yankees rallied for a 9-8 win over the Tigers Tuesday night in Tampa.

Rogers Struggles: Rogers just couldn't catch a break during his three frames of work, giving up five hits and two walks to put the Yankees in an early hole. He committed a fielding error on a routine chopper in the second, strangely causing just one of his allowed runs to be earned.

Differing Bullpen Stats: Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson threw scoreless innings in the fourth and sixth, but Dellin Betances again letting a run cross home in the fifth is likely the bigger story. It was Betances' third consecutive outing in which he failed to keep his opponent off the board -- pushing the Tigers' lead to 6-2 at the time.

Starter Offense: Despite the Yankees' rather large deficit for much of this contest, a few of their starters did have solid games -- most notably Brett Gardner stealing two bases and Carlos Beltran going 1-for-2 with a run-scoring sac fly. Mark Teixeira also plated a run with a bloop double in the first -- a soft fly ball to left that just landed fair. 

Chipping Away: The Yankees trailed 8-2 going into this one's bottom of the seventh, but soon cut that disadvantage in half with three against Detroit's Kyle Ryan. Didi Gregorius began the momentum swing with a sharp RBI single, followed shortly by a Francisco Arcia force-out and a Kyle Higashioka bases-loaded walk to get the Yankees within striking distance.

A Good Way to Cap it Off: The Yankees then came all the way back in their half of the ninth, knocking in four more off Rafael Dolis to complete the seemingly-improbable victory. John Ryan Murphy stayed hot with an RBI single in the inning, and Ramon Flores finished it with a walk-off three-run home run three batters later.

Next Up: The Yankees will remain at Steinbrenner Field Wednesday for a 1:05 p.m. matinee with the Mets -- their second meeting with their crosstown rivals this week. Masahiro Tanaka is expected to pitch for the Yankees when they face off with young right-hander Rafael Montero -- a matchup you can see live on YES as well as MLB Network.

New York Yankees Recreate The Sandlot

Spring: New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers 3/24

The New York Yankees play another night game at George M. Steinbrenner Field tonight when the team plays host to the Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez recently made their spring debuts for Detroit over the weekend and may see time in the game tonight for the Tigers. The two sluggers for Detroit will face off against the Yankees starter Esmil Rogers. 

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network. 

The Important Part of the Yuri Sucart’s Guilty Plea

Yuri Sucrat, yes I know his name is Sucart but when you testify against your own people and especially blood you tend to get labeled a rat, is expected to plead guilty in the case pending against him in regards to the Biogenesis clinic. Court documents showed that Sucart will plead guilty to a seven count indictment of testosterone distribution and conspiracy to distribute performance-enhancing substances.

There is no need to regurgitate the fact that 14 MLB players were suspended due to the fallout of the clinic led by Anthony Bosch, including Alex Rodriguez, but instead I’d rather focus on the positives.  What this means for Alex and what it means for the Yankees is that New York’s third baseman and DH will not have to testify in court against his cousin, Sucart, and will not have to leave the team to testify in front of a Federal judge.

This is a definite win for Alex as the slugger now has one less thing to worry about when the games start counting on April 6th of this year. 

Upcoming Starters Shed Light On Opening Day

We recently found out who is going to pitch in the upcoming Spring Training games for the Yankees, which sheds some light on the question of who will be the team's Opening Day starter.

Masahiro Tanaka will start tomorrow versus the Mets, Adam Warren will pitch Thursday against the Rays, Michael Pineda is scheduled to throw Friday against the Phillies, CC Sabathia gets the start versus the Orioles on Saturday, and Nathan Eovaldi will get the start against the Astros on Sunday.

This means that CC Sabathia would start on Opening Day on short rest, which is highly doubtful. Why would a team start any pitcher on short rest unless they had to, especially one coming off of injury? 

Adam Warren? I don't think so. Nathan Eovaldi? Uh-uh. Michael Pineda? Not a bad choice, but I don't see it.

I think the Yankees' Opening Day starter will be Mr. Masahiro Tanaka.

Michael Pineda Could Be the Yankees Ace in 2015

Michael Pineda, not Masahiro Tanaka and not CC Sabathia, could be the ace for the New York Yankees pitching staff in 2015 if all goes according to plan. Pineda last pitched on Saturday and struck out six batters but more importantly showed an ability to settle down and adjust after getting smacked around a bit in the beginning of the game. It’s the confidence he showed in 2014 along with the dominance and the veteran poise that may lead him to the top of the Yankees rotation this season.

Pineda got hit and got hit hard Saturday afternoon but quickly adjusted against the Houston Astros and kept the Yankees in the game. He looked exceptionally sharp and got more than enough swings and misses with his changeup. The changeup set up the fastball that we all know that he has and Pineda finished with another effective and, more importantly, another healthy start. If Pineda can stay healthy this season and show that he has half an ounce of intelligence in his brain, pine tar incident says it all, then three years if struggling, rehab and hard work may finally pay off for the Yankees right hander.

Given the question marks surround Tanaka’s elbow, Sabathia’s knee and overall effectiveness, Nathan Eovaldi’s change of scenery to the American League and his ability to put hitters away, Ivan Nova’s elbow, Chris Capuano’s quad and Adam Warren’s stamina to stay in the rotation for an extended period of time Pineda may become the ace by default early on.

We’ll finish with a word from the man, Pineda himself, about his start on Saturday:

"I'm very, very happy in the spring, especially today," Pineda said. "You know, I throw two innings, three innings and I feel very strong. I like it."

Hector Olivera Signs With Dodgers

Like just about every bit of news these days, Jesse Sanchez announced on Twitter that Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has agreed to a six-year, $62.5 million contract, with the Dodgers.

So the Yankees have passed on yet another big-name Cuban free agent. Although, after passing on Yoan Moncada, it comes as little surprise to this Yankees fan.

The reports of his range and arm not being up to par is probably why the Yanks were never really interested. If that's true then Olivera may be destined for second base, where the team already has Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder just about ready to take that ball and run with it. Third base could be an option for Hector, but after signing Headley there's no immediate need there.

The Yankees Should Develop From Within, And Not Just On The Field

People had a lot to say about my last article, however most of it had to do with how it was written. I'm not out out to insult people, but I will point out that Yankees Universe isn't full of Rhodes Scholars. And hell... the backlash did help create a nickname for my readers, something that I never in my wildest dreams would have thought would happen. So I'd like to welcome all my Mulch Heads back!

An admittedly small crowd.

Well, let's see if I can inadvertently offend people again...

The purpose of my last article was to defend the people that are running the Yankees, particularly Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi. While they make some questionable... oh, who am I kidding? While they make some incredibly bone-headed decisions, neither man is an imbecile. They've been around winners, and helped develop winners, for a long time.  But I don't want to drive down that road again.

I was getting ready to reply to another post when I realized there was something else about Brian Cashman that made me a fan of his, and allows me to trust him. He's not like CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, and others that the Yankees need to contribute in order to succeed. While those guys have been a part of the Indians, Brewers, Braves, and Angels, the only team Brian Cashman has ever known is the New York Yankees.

Brian was born in Rockville Centre, NY, which is a little over 20 miles away from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. He was actually raised in Washingtonville, but even that town is only about an hour away from the home of the Bombers.

After getting his degree at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, Brian finally returned to New York City to work as an intern for the Yankees. Cash spent the next 12 years in the Yankees front office before being named the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the team, a job he's held for 17 years.

Like I said, Cashman could have left the Yankees for the Washington Nationals in 2005. At the time the Nationals were a brand new team, meaning there's a very good chance Brian would have had full autonomy... something he's fought for with the Yankees during his entire time here. And it's not like the Nats were the next Houston Astros, a team that is seemingly content with losing. Washington has been one of the better teams in baseball for a few years now, and with the addition of Max Scherzer I don't think they are going away any time soon.

That smile doesn't fool me, Max. I know you'd rather be wearing a Yankees uniform.

And Brian Cashman could have been a part of that. Would he have made less money as the Nationals' General Manager? Possibly. Although, I'm willing to bet the Nats compensate Mike Rizzo quite well, as he's been that team's GM for 7 years now, and they likely would have done the same for Cash.

The point is that Brian Cashman is a Yankee through and through, and that makes me feel good about him. This isn't just a job to Brian. The Yankees are his life, and it's been that way for 17 years now, and will likely be that way until his final breath.

So while you beg the Yankees to develop their own stars, and stop simply hiring mercenaries like Sabathia, Teixeira, and McCann, perhaps you should root for younger guys within the organization to be Brian's successor, instead of clamoring for them to hire the "next big thing" in baseball operations.

I may have actually convinced myself that Don Mattingly would have been a better choice as the Yankees manager instead of Joe Girardi, although... as a Donnie Baseball fan from year's back... I felt that way at the time too.

Pete Rose Investigator Says Keep Rose out of Game

The Pete Rose subject and whether to reinstate him or keep him banned from baseball for life is a touchy subject and one that is prone to incite rioting and arguments among baseball fans regardless of their team affiliations. Some, including myself, see a different society today where sports betting is not frowned upon and see little wrong with what Rose did in the grand scheme of things. He wasn’t throwing games, he was trying to win games, and did not alter the game in any shape or form on days he bet then on days when he didn’t. Some still think he disgraced the game and shouldn’t be allowed back into the game ever including one investigator who

We all know the rule, Major League Baseball Constitution, Rule 21, Section (d) subsection (2). You don’t bet on the game of baseball while you’re employed by Major League Baseball. Rose screwed up and no one can or will deny that. Especially John Dowd, the former special counsel to the Commissioner of Baseball, the man hired to probe the gambling allegations and the man who led the investigation who interviewed him for two days straight recently. The fact that Rose could have wiped his slate clean had he admitted to the betting back in 1989. If the league was willing to let Rose get by with just therapy then, why is this such an issue and such a legal hurdle now?

Dowd uses terms like “traitor” and “disgraced the game of baseball” like Rose was Shoeless Joe Jackson and it’s an absolute shame. Pete Rose in no way should be the poster child for Major League Baseball but he shouldn’t be the black sheep either.

I have a feeling this story isn’t going to be going away any time soon Yankees family. Whether you’re on the side of reinstatement or upholding the lifetime ban I think we are all going to be sick and tired of hearing about it before it is all said and done. 

I Come from the Era Everyone Loves to Hate

For better or worse I am realizing more and more that I come from the era in baseball that everyone seemingly loves to hate. I grew up a Yankees fans after being born in the Bronx and after moving just outside the city in 1985 and really got into baseball around the 1994 season. I didn’t grow up watching the terrible Yankees teams of the 80’s, all I knew was the dynasty years and the World Series victories and Derek Jeter. Many call me spoiled, and I was, but now it’s a whole new generation and fan base that is being attacked, the sabermetrics community.

I grew up in the era where a teenage kid could sit in front of a computer and scout every pitch every player ever threw in every game ever. The same can be said for every bat that ever made contact with every pitch, fair or foul, and somehow quantify it into meaning something. I am a fan of sabermetrics, I believe the defensive shift does more good than it does harm, I’m all about pitch framing and I truly believe a strikeout is no worse than a ground or fly ball. I watched and read Moneyball, I idolized Billy Beane there for a minute and I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Girardi’s binder when he actually used it and the more you look around the internet, twitter etc. the more you will see that I am more so in the minority than I thought.

How can you argue it though? Batting average across the league is at its lowest level since 1971 since the shift has been employed and coaches are having to find new and inventive ways to teach their players. Shifts are changing the game, for better or worse, and not just regular season games either. Remember the 2014 World Series Game 7 when Juan Perez was almost huddling the left field line against Nori Aoki? Off the bat it looked like Aoki had a game tying fifth inning double that could have drastically changed the outcome of the game but instead Madison Bumgarner continued to shut down the Royals when the ball was played perfectly and caught and the rest became history.

In 2011 teams shifted 2,357 times which doubled to 4,577 in 2012, increased to 8,180 in 2013 and ended with 13,296 in 2014. The first defensive shift can be linked back to the June 25, 1870 game between the Brooklyn Atlantics and the Cincinnati Red Stockings and has caught fire more and more ever since and the fans that agree with the notion have had to defend themselves and their thinking more and more ever since as well. I am growing up in unprecedented times and swimming in unchartered waters and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Better than Mets in 2015

It didn’t look like it on Sunday when the Mets blanked the Yankees 6-0 but the New York Yankees will have a better team than the New York Mets in 2015.

Vote in our prediction poll on Knoda.com

Yankees to Dig Back In to Bargain Bin?

Will the New York Yankees dip back into the bargain bin and sign another free agent starting pitcher for insurance this spring? The Colorado Rockies have released right handed starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin in a surprise move since the RHP is a former ace for the Rockies. Granted, Chacin has struggled this spring but spring training stats and a buck will get you a Coke.

Chacin went 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA last season and somehow raised that this spring in the Cactus League to 6.52 in just four appearances. Chacin made just two starts this spring striking out five batters in 9.2 IP. The Rockies felt like Chacin was behind the plethora of starting pitching options Colorado currently has which brought the move on, the move that could be the Yankees gain and the Rockies loss.

Chacin was 38-48 in six seasons all with Colorado posting a 3.78 ERA. Chacin’s career season to dat came in 2013 when he posted a 14-10 record with a 3.47 ERA inside Coors Field. If the Yankees can get him for cheap, i.e. a minor league deal, and bring him along slowly I think he could be an absolute steal for the team in the long run.

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/24: Babe Ruth Takes a Pay Cut

On this day in 1933 Babe Ruth, another victim of the great depression in the United States, was forced to take a pay cut of $23,000 from his $75,000 salary. #Merica