Saturday, August 15, 2015

Recap: Yankees 4, Blue Jays 1

Masahiro Tanaka tossed a complete game five-hitter and the Yankees easily beat the Blue Jays, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Tanaka Dazzles: The Yankees' ace yielded next to nothing over his nine dominant innings, holding the Blue Jays to just one earned run while walking three and striking out eight. The Jays actually loaded the bases off him with none out in the fifth, but scored just once in the frame after Tanaka retired Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion consecutively.

Belting Again: It's safe to say Carlos Beltran was the hero of the Yankees' victory on Friday, and the momentum he gained from then is apparently still alive. Indeed, Beltran started this one's scoring with a solo blast in the first -- crushing a Marco Estrada offering just past the right-field wall for his eleventh long ball of the year.

Back to Texting: Mark Teixeira hadn't driven in a run in six games going into Saturday, but the first baseman nonetheless came up big when the Yankees needed him most. His solo shot in the sixth broke a crucial 1-1 tie, and his eighth-inning RBI single provided Tanaka with adequate run support.

Didi the Gold Glover?: Didi Gregorius has always been known to have much defensive potential, and after Saturday, it's clear he's beginning to reach it. The Yankees shortstop made impressive stops on grounders in the fourth and seventh, making sure to show off his throwing arm on both plays.

Extra Insurance: John Ryan Murphy and Jacoby Ellsbury gave the Yankees some in the ninth. Murphy led off the inning with a double to left-center -- he later advanced to third on a Stephen Drew bunt -- and Ellsbury plated him with a single up the middle to put the Yankees ahead by three.

Next Up: The Yankees will go for the surprise sweep on Sunday, sending recent call-up Luis Severino (0-1, 2.45 ERA) to the hill versus right-hander Drew Hutchison (11-2, 5.26 ERA). First pitch is set for 1:07 p.m. ET, with YES and WFAN calling the action.

Twitter Poll: Are You Worried About Alex Rodriguez?

The New York Yankees find themselves in a bit of a Catch 22 as we sit here on August 15th. The team came into the season not expecting nor relying on now 40 year old Alex Rodriguez whatsoever but that has not gone according to plan. Alex has far exceeded anyone’s expectations and is now a daily staple in the #3 hole of the Yankees lineup. The Yankees have been able to keep him fresh and healthy by keeping him as a DH only but the dog days of summer may be starting to get to him. Alex has hit one home run in over two weeks now and may be finally starting to break down and wear out, but that’s just my opinion anyway. What’s yours? Twitter Poll incoming!

Personally I think the call up for Greg Bird will be Rodriguez’s, and the Yankees, saving grace. The offense pretty much needs one of Alex or Mark Teixeira in the lineup at all times to have a chance to win on most nights and having Bird allows the team to get a little flexible. While Teixeira DH’s Bird can play first base while Alex rides the bench and gets a much needed rest. While Alex DH’s Teixeira can sit and relax knowing a suitable backup in Bird is in the field and at the plate. This rotation can get Bird plenty of at bats and can keep Teixeira and Rodriguez healthy and fresh for the stretch run and for the chase of the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East Division race.

To be involved in our next Twitter Poll head on over to the app and give @GreedyStripes a follow, you won’t be sorry. Then all you have to do is be on the lookout for our next Twitter Poll tweet where we will not use your responses without informing you first.

The Cry For Homegrown Talent May Be Ill Advised: 2009

This look at the New York Yankees roster in a World Series championship year is the year I was most excited about looking at because of the differences between this roster and the dynasty years. This World Series came a long nine years after the last time Mariano Rivera was seen jumping up and down on the mound in Shea Stadium and a lot has changed. The Yankees actually used a ton of homegrown talent in 2009 but how much? Let's see:

The Yankees infield looked a lot different then the last time we looked as Mark Teixeira (Angels) was our new first baseman, Alex Rodriguez was our new third baseman, and Hideki Matsui (Japan) was the teams DH in 2009. The Yankees did have homegrown talent up the middle as Robinson Cano manned second base and Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada grabbed their fifth World Series with the Yankees after coming up to be the shortstop and catcher respectively through the Yankees system. Angel Berroa (Royals) spent time on the Yankees bench with Jerry Hairston Jr. (Orioles) while the Yankees had homegrown talent in Cody Ransom, Ramiro Pena, and Juan Miranda all getting World Series rings in 2009.

The outfield had Nick Swisher (White Sox, Athletics) manning right field while Johnny Damon (Red Sox) was in left field fresh from the Boston Red Sox group of idiots. The Yankees did have a homegrown center fielder that season in Melky Cabrera and another in Brett Gardner waiting in the wings on the bench. Xavier Nady (Pirates), Eric Hinske (Blue Jays), and Freddy Guzman (Padres) spent big parts of the 2009 season in the outfield. The Yankees did introduce us to Shelley Duncan this season as well.

The pitching got a makeover in the winter of 2009 as New York brought in CC Sabathia (Indians, Brewers) and AJ Burnett (Marlins, Blue Jays) to join homegrown talent Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain (the starting pitchah!). The fifth starter this season was more or less patched together and it wasn't always pretty.

The bullpen is where Joe Girardi made his name with the Yankees and made the best of the farm system that Brian Cashman put together. Phil Hughes was in the bullpen this season along with Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, Phil Coke, Mike Dunn, Mark Melancon, and Ian Kennedy all pitching out of the pen in 2009. The Yankees did add Damaso Marte (former Yankee farm hand via Pittsburgh), Jonathan Albaladejo (Washington), and Alfredo Aceves (Mexico) to fill out the rest of Girardi's pen.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Maybe the Yankees recipe for success is correct, fill the bullpen with nothing but homegrown power arms and a free agent veteran signing or two. Whatever gets us another World Series I guess....

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 8/15

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will continue their three game series this afternoon as these two teams make the trip back to the Rogers Centre. The Yankees and Blue jays faced off just last weekend at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and will face off again with another familiar pitching matchup between the two teams. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to face off against Marco Estrada in a repeat of last Sunday’s matchup. This time around the game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees are just two games away, including this afternoon’s contest, from returning home to Yankee Stadium and hosting HOPE Week 2015. To be at the stadium when the Yankees come home click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog and get a pair of tickets while supporting the blog, we appreciate it. Until then simply head over to Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to root for the home team from afar.

If Tanaka limits the damage today and the offense shows up to work I think the Yankees will be just fine, we hope so anyway. Go Yankees!

Are the Yankees Worth the Money?

We did this post last season when the Yankees were struggling to make the postseason for the second straight season and I wanted to take another look at the team again this season to see if the team was worth the money. As we know the Yankees have one of the highest payrolls in all of Major League Baseball but is Hal Steinbrenner and the fans getting their money's worth? With the greatness that is sabermetrics and with a little help from we can decide just that.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 8/15

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will once again face off head-to-head inside the Rogers Centre as the battle for the American League East Division crown and its supremacy continues. David Price is out of the way for the Yankees, which is always a good sign, and the team is looking to climb back into first place in the division with another series victory. Donned with that task for the Yankees is Masahiro Tanaka who will face off with a familiar foe in Marco Estrada for the Blue Jays. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Tanaka took the loss in his last start against Estrada and the Blue Jays after allowing a couple solo home runs inside Yankee Stadium. The Yankees offense went to sleep as New York and Tanaka lost the game by the final score of 2-0 despite a quality start by Tanaka. If Tanaka can throw another quality start this afternoon and the offense can get clicking this team can climb back into the driver’s seat in the division.

  • Estrada held the Yankees scoreless over 6.1 innings in his last start and out-dueled the Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka, his opponent in today’s contest as well. Estrada improved his career ERA against the Yankees to 4.50 ERA with his last start, hopefully that goes back up to around 5.00 after this start because the Yankees need a win.

These two teams have nine more head-to-head matchups including this afternoon’s game which will undoubtedly decide the victor of the American League East Division. I said this on Twitter (*shameless plug alert* @GREEDYSTRIPES) and I will say it again here. The Yankees have to feel good here, the Toronto Blue Jays won 11 games in a row heading into the series and only held a 0.5 game lead in the division after the Yankees lost five games in a row before the finale victory in Cleveland. Sample size, common sense and history will tell you that the Blue Jays will not keep up at a .900 winning percentage pace of the remainder of the season and the Yankees are extremely unlikely to play under .500 baseball. If the Yankees can weather this storm as the Blue Jays peak early they can catch them late with all their young arms and legs they are infusing into the team and win this division. I have faith and the team is playing like they do too. Go Yankees!

My Early Impressions of Greg Bird

Greg Bird was called up to the New York Yankees on Thursday to give the big league club a true backup at the first base position. Manager Joe Girardi wasted no time in throwing Bird into the fire as he started his first game at first base and batted seventh in the lineup. The left-handed Bird did not start against the left-handed pitcher David Price yesterday but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him give Alex Rodriguez a day off today inside the Rogers Centre. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so let’s see how many words I can come up with after watching him play live and take at bats for nine innings against the Cleveland Indians.

Bird did not look flustered or bothered by the bright lights of the big leagues, not at the plate and not in the field. Bird was actually drafted out of High School as a catcher and back issues forced him to play more first base, not to mention the fact that he is a big stature kind of guy, but you couldn’t tell it as he looked comfortable and natural at first base. Now he wasn’t forced to make some of the line drive stops, diving attempts or wasn’t forced to pick some of the balls out of the dirt that Mark Teixeira has this season but he looked fluid and natural at the position. His foot work and mechanics were where you want them to be and he’s a big target for the other infielders to throw at, which never hurts.

Bird finished the day 0-5 but he hit the ball hard enough to get at least two, possibly three, hits on the night. Bird impressed me with his batters eye and ability to take pitches. When Bird did swing he connected with solid contact and used all fields when he did, something that cannot be taught easily in my opinion. His left-handed swing should produce 20 home run power over the course of a season inside Yankee Stadium and around a .285 - .300 average in my opinion.

Bird impressed me, he really did. I can now see at least a glimpse of why the Yankees made him virtually untouchable at this year’s July 31st trading deadline. A picture is worth a thousand words but that game was only worth 399, I need to step my game up. 

Weekly Check In: Jorge Mateo

In last week’s post we learned that Jorge Mateo was called up from Low-A Charleston to the High-A Tampa Yankees at just 20 years old and Mateo has started right where he left off with the Riverdogs. Mateo is still hitting the ball at an improved and impressive clip while taking pitches, working walks and getting on base in order to pad his stolen base totals. It seems unlikely that Mateo could close the gap to 100 stolen bases in a single season with minor league seasons ending in three or four weeks but I am not willing to put my money against him that much is for certain.

To think, Mateo was almost reportedly packaged in a deal along with other minor league players for Craig Kimbrel and the atrocious contract of Jedd Gyorko. While the Yankees improve in the interim that trade would have had all the makings of a disaster in the long term, especially if Didi Gregorius ends up not being the shortstop of the future after all.

Mateo leads an impressive crop of shortstops for the Yankees that includes Abi Avelino, Kyle Holder and Tyler Wade but none of them have put up the sheer numbers that Mateo has this season. 


Recap: Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3

Carlos Beltran hit a go-ahead three-run shot in the eighth and the Yankees stole one from the Blue Jays, 4-3, on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Belting off the Bench: A pinch-hitting Beltran clubbed arguably the Yankees' biggest home run of the year on a fastball from Aaron Sanchez, a 97 mph heater the youngster left over the plate. Sanchez had been ahead in the count 1-2 prior to the game-changing blast, but poorly located his next offering as Beltran took advantage. 

The Nerves are Rampant: Seemingly continuing his unimpressive week, Andrew Miller again had trouble finishing the ninth. The Yankees' closer allowed two runners to reach scoring position with just one out, barely escaping disaster after lengthy strikeouts of Ben Revere and Troy Tulowitzki.

More Than Acceptable: His seven innings of three-run ball might not have been masterful, but nonetheless, Ivan Nova kept the Yankees in Friday's contest. The emerging right-hander surrendered all three of the Blue Jays' runs in a rough bottom of the third, but rebounded from there for his fourth win in five starts.

Get Outta Here!: To say David Price silenced the Yankees' bats for the first 7 1/3 innings Friday would be an understatement. But following eighth-inning singles by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann as well as a run-scoring ground-rule double by Chase Headley, the Jays' ace was forced to exit with men on second and third, a mini-victory for New York which ultimately cost Price the W.

Going, Going, aaaand Caught: Facing Dellin Betances with two out and the bases empty in the eighth, Justin Smoak excited the home crowd with a deep drive to center -- and for a moment, it really did seem like the ball would clear the fence. Fortunetaly for the Yankees, though, it instead fizzled out on the warning track -- preserving the visitors' lead and Betances' scoreless innings streak.

Next Up: The Yankees and Blue Jays play again Saturday at 1:07 p.m. ET, a matchup you can see live on YES and MLB Network. Masahiro Tanaka (8-5, 3.79 ERA) will get the ball for the Yanks versus Toronto's Marco Estrada (10-6, 3.21 ERA), the same head-to-head which was showcased last Sunday.

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/15: Mantle's Funeral

My apologies in advance for the somber beginning to your Saturday morning but on this day in 1995 the New York Yankees and many around baseball attended the funeral services for Mickey Mantle. At the request of the Mantle family Bob Costas delivered the eulogy for Mickey. I can't say anymore, just watch below and get goosebumps like I did. Happy Friday everyone and RIP Mickey Mantle.