Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros 8/25

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros are ready to kick off the second game of their three game set this week at Yankee Stadium with another potentially great pitching match-up. Earlier this season tonight's Astros starter Dallas Keuchel dominated the Yankees inside Minute Maid Park but pitching in Houston and pitching in New York tend to be two totally different animals entirely. Opposing Keuchel for the Yankees will be Ivan Nova who looks to turn around a three game start streak where he has struggled with his control and efficiency. The game will begin at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

You have one more chance after tonight to see the Yankees live before they head back out onto the road leaving you one more chance, tomorrow afternoon, to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog and one more chance to see the Yankees live inside Yankee Stadium. If you can't make it to the stadium live then simply jump on Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to interact with us and root for the Yankees during each and every Yankees game this season.

Nova is ready to hold down a strong offense in Houston and the Yankees offense is ready to show the Astros that they aren't in Houston anymore. Go Yankees!

Jose Reyes Already Asking Out of Colorado, Kind Of

The New York Yankees have battled with essentially a black hole at second base for much of the 2015 season which has led to the team being linked to almost every second base option that is said to be available this season. While many of the fans have asked for Robert Refsnyder from the farm system or Martin Prado in the trade market I wrote last week that I was warming up to a trade for the Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes. Many believe that Reyes could benefit from a position change from shortstop to second base and could also benefit from being back in the middle of a pennant chase, including Mr. Reyes himself.

Here is the exact quote from Reyes courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors:

“You come from a ballclub that was competing for a spot in the playoffs,” said Reyes. “And you come to a club in last place. You think about that.” Reyes said to Groke that winning is his top priority, particularly at this stage of his career. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my career on a last-place team,” he continued. Reyes wasn’t necessarily asking out of Colorado, adding, “We’ll see what happens here,” but he added that he doesn’t want to spend multiple years waiting on a rebuild, either.

Hey if the Rockies want to give the Yankees a “take this albatross of a contract and bad attitude/disgruntled player” off my hands for almost nothing type discount then I’m all for it. I’ve even gone as far as to say I’d be willing to send Robert Refsnyder out there if the money was right that was coming back from Colorado. This is a situation I plan on watching very closely for the next week as the August 31st revocable waiver trade deadline comes to a close. 

USA Today's Weekly MLB Power Rankings

The New York Yankees have been leapfrogged in the power rankings by the Toronto Blue Jays but have somehow stuck around at the top of the American League East Division. The Yankees took down the Minnesota Twins to begin their week before running into a bit of trouble with the Cleveland Indians losing their first two contests. The good news for the Yankees is they have hung around with Toronto and held onto first place for much of the month so maybe that won't change the rankings all that much.

We start this week off the same way we start off almost every single week, with the biggest rise and fall of the week. The biggest rise of the week went to the Texas Rangers who rose two spots to the #11 position. The biggest fall of the week went to the Los Angeles Dodgers who fell two spots all the way to the #8 position. The Yankees came in with the 7th position last week and finished this week off with the #6 position, one spot higher than last week.

To finish out the rest of the American League East you have the Toronto Blue Jays still sitting at the #5 position while the Baltimore Orioles finished third in the division with the #14 position. The Tampa Bay Rays finished 4th best in the division with the #15 position while the Boston Red Sox continue to merely stick around with the #22 position on the ranking.

The Top 5 teams in the league according to the rankings are the #1 St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago Cubs and the Toronto Blue Jays. The five worst teams in descending order are the #26 Milwaukee Brewers, the #27 Cincinnati Reds, the #28 Philadelphia Phillies, the #29 Miami Marlins and the #30 Colorado Rockies.

This is going to be one hell of a month of September with almost every division and every team still in this thing. This season may end up taking nine to ten years off my life but if the Yankees make the postseason and potentially win the World Series then it might be worth it, maybe. Check in next week to see how the Yankees and the rest of the league potentially rise or fall in these rankings.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros 8/25

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros continue their three game set this week at Yankee Stadium with an off day for the Bronx Bombers in sight in the distance. The Yankees will play their 15th game in 15 days tonight in the Bronx with one more to go before getting a much needed day off. New York will send Ivan Nova to the mound tonight looking to face off with and beat Dallas Keuchel for the Astros. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

Nova is set to make his second start of his career against the Houston Astros tonight after taking a tough loss against the Cleveland Indians last time out. Nova allowed just three earned runs and six hits against the Indians in that start but the lack of run support handed the Yankees and Nova another tough loss. 

Keuchel is a totally different pitcher on the road than he is at home which is evident by his unbeaten home streak he kept alive in his last start. Keuchel left his start against the Rays on the hook for a loss before Houston came back and walked off. This start happens in the Bronx tonight though which is great news for the Yankees. 

New York and Houston are both in the midst of playoff races as the Yankees and Blue Jays battle for the American League East while the Astros and the Angels battle it out in the American League West. Houston has a bit of breathing room while the Yankees pretty much can't lose another game this season, slight exaggeration, meaning New York needs a victory tonight in the Bronx. Go Yankees!

Would a Six Man Rotation Effect The Yankees In Free Agency?

The New York Yankees, before the injury to CC Sabathia over the weekend, announced that they were likely to roll with all six of their starting pitchers for the remainder of the 2015 season as they implement the six-man rotation. The team has tried to give as much extra rest as possible to Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi this season and have inserted a sixth starter on a temporary basis more than once already this season which made the decision to go to a six-man rotation less of a surprise. Would the decision to go with a six-man rotation makes sense for the 2015 season and would it affect the Yankees plans for the 2016 season as well? Well, it could!

The starting pitching market will be absolutely insane this offseason with the likes of David Price, Jordan Zimmerman, Johnny Cueto and even Doug Fister hitting free agency this winter. With the idea of a six-man rotation, even on a temporary basis, still being uncharted territory in Major League Baseball it may potentially scare pitchers away from coming to the team with the fear of their routines and habits being messed with.

Another question would be whether the likes of Price, Zimmerman or Cueto would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million plus per season for 25-28 starts in a season rather than 35 starts or so in the regular season.

Some pitchers have benefited from the extra rest, Tanaka and Sabathia as great examples of that, while others have struggled with the extra rest, see Michael Pineda, which could also be a huge factor in whether or not a pitcher will come to the club. While pitchers like David Price, who will be 30 in just a few days, is likely to sign his last big contract of his career this winter pitchers like Zimmerman and Fister will likely sign deals in the four-to-five year range leaving one more big free agency push to go in their careers. Would they want to risk struggling in New York in a six-man rotation for four or five years and risk hurting their potential free agency status later?

There a lot of questions in this post and not a lot of answers unfortunately. The six-man rotation will presumably help the 2015 Yankees but if the team likes the results they may want to go forward with it in 2016. How that line of progressive thinking may or may not hurt the Yankees going forward, specifically in free agency, is unclear and the unknown is generally scary.

Quick Hit: Making the Case for Andrew Bailey

The New York Yankees have had a revolving door to their bullpen and an express trolley going in between Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and PNC Field in Scranton for much of this season. New York has seen 21 different relievers on the roster and nine different prospects make their Major League debut out of the Yankees bullpen this season and it seems like every 10 days or so we see the likes of Branden Pinder, Caleb Cotham, Chris Capuano and others coming up from Triple-A for a fresh arm in the Yankees bullpen but one arm that has yet to come up yet this season is Andrew Bailey. Why not?

After spending basically two seasons in the Yankees organization his right throwing shoulder seems to finally be healthy. Bailey has spent the last two seasons rehabbing a torn shoulder labrum and a torn shoulder capsule, both of which are usually career-ending injuries, and has had multiple setbacks during his Yankees tenure in the minor leagues. With that in mind, and let's face it Bailey's shoulder could go kaput at any second, why don't the Yankees bring him up now instead of wasting his bullets in Triple-A? A 40 man roster spot would need to be cleared for Bailey but the Yankees have shown that not to be a problem this season. Bailey is one Chris Martin DFA away from being in the Bronx and adding a veteran arm to the Yankees already dynamic bullpen that finds themselves in the middle of a pennant race.

Rosters expand in less than a week and Bailey could add another power arm to the trio of Adam Warren, Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson as the Yankees continually look to shorten the game and take the pressure off their starting pitchers. Bailey is a relatively fresh arm throwing just 32 innings at the time of this writing and a veteran arm that has seen postseason runs in his career with the Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox. Bailey could prove invaluable in a 6th or 7th inning role in the Bronx as the team looks to not only reach the postseason but also looks to evaluate talent before finalizing a potential playoff roster.

Could you imagine a bullpen of Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, Adam Warren, Andrew Bailey and Bryan Mitchell? That's game over.

Here's the stat line for the current Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders closer:

2015 AA,AAA,A+,Rk 3 0 1.97 26 6 32.0 24 10 7 3 11 40 1.094 6.8 0.8 3.1 11.2

Weekly Check In: Aaron Judge

Like we learned in yesterday's check in post some of the Yankees top prospects are struggling with their promotions to Triple-A. Gary Sanchez is hitting right around the Stephen Drew line in his last 50 at bats and Aaron Judge is not doing much better lately. Judge has been hitting home runs but he has also been striking out at a disconcerting clip leaving some to worry whether he is ready for the highest minor league level.

Judge may be breaking out of it a bit after a strong weekend including a 3-3 night on Saturday with a home run, a stolen base and two walks. Judge may have been limping towards the finish line before a strong weekend but the Judge may be back and back in full force for the final couple of weeks of the season.

Will the slump keep him from being a September call up or will the Yankees 40 man roster crunch keep him from the Bronx? That's unclear but I highly doubt it will be his performance that keeps him out of Yankee Stadium next month.


Chaz Hebert Named FSL Pitcher of the Week

LHP Chaz Hebert Named FSL Pitcher of the Week

Tampa, Fla. - The Florida State League named Tampa Yankees LHP Chaz Hebert Pitcher of the Week today. This honor was for games played August 17 - 23, 2015.

Hebert pitched in two (2) games for a total of 13 innings, with one being a 7-inning complete game shut-out, his second this season. He allowed only five (5) hits, one (1) run, and struck out 17 batters with a 0.69 ERA for the week.

This is the fourth year of professional baseball for the 2011 non-drafted free agent from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/25: Three Grand Slams In One Game

Never in the history of Major League Baseball had one team hit three grand slams in one game before the New York Yankees accomplished the feat in 2011. The Yankees would beat the Oakland Athletics 22-9 with Robinson Cano, Russell Martin, and Curtis Granderson all going deep with the bases loaded in Yankee Stadium.

Also on this day in 1996 Mickey Mantle joined Miller Huggins, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig as Yankees greats that have a monument in Monument Park. Mantle died of liver cancer last year and is the first new monument to be dedicated by the team in 47 years.

Also on this day in 1968 Yankees outfielder Rocky Colavito pitched 2.1 innings of relief giving up just one hit in a victory for the Yankees 6-5 over the Tigers. The Yankees outfielder, who also hit a home run in the game, will be the last position player to get a win by pitching until Colorado Rockies Brent Mayne would win a game in the year 2000.

Finally on this day in 1956 the Yankees general manager George Weiss and manager Casey Stengel hold a closed door meeting with shortstop Phil Rizzuto. The meeting discussed who should be let go since the team had acquired Enos Slaughter off waivers from the Atheltics. Rizzuto made several suggestions on who he thought who should be released from the Yankees before Weiss informed Scooter that he would be the player to be let go. Shady.