Friday, August 28, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Atlanta Braves 8/28

My happiness has turned to giddiness as the New York Yankees filed into Turner Field tonight to take on the Atlanta Braves. It is amazing how the little things in life can really make you happy and make you smile, isn’t it? The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound tonight to face off against the Braves starter Williams Perez. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees have two more games in Atlanta and three in Boston before an off day and a trip back to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium. To have your Yankees tickets for when the team comes home or to see the team in Atlanta if you’re a New York transplant like myself be sure to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog now while you still have time. If you can’t make it live then be sure to give @GreedyStripes a follow to interact with us and root for the home team during each and every Yankees game for the remainder of the season.

Brett Gardner and company are ready to wake up and ignite the offense and I’m ready to send a bunch of co-workers the sarcastic “are you watching the Braves game?” texts when the Yankees get up big. Go Yankees!

Greg Bird to Right Field? Brian Cashman Answers the Question

When the New York Yankees called up first base prospect Greg Bird many were left wondering how the team would get Bird enough at bats to justify the pause in his development. Sure Bird would be getting the Major League experience that cannot be duplicated without actually experiencing it first hand but playing every day, even in the minor leagues, may or may not have been more beneficial to Bird. Ironically and coincidentally Alex Rodriguez went on a cold streak and Mark Teixeira  injured his leg after fouling a ball off it plunging Bird into basically an every day role. Teixeira seems like he has nursed his leg back to health and Rodriguez will likely get all three games off in Atlanta after taking two nights off this past weekend seemingly once again leaving Bird without an every day spot in the lineup. The Yankees will have to get creative to get Bird those necessary at bats before rosters expand in September, could that creativity bring the team's best first base prospect to the outfield and specifically to right field?

In an interview seen on the New York Post, SEEN HERE, the Yankees GM Brian Cashman was asked that exact question and 100% put the question and speculation to bed emphatically.  Cashman shot down any chance of Bird playing in the outfield, outside of an emergency situation obviously, as long as Cashman is in charge of the personnel decisions in the Bronx.

Here is a direct quote from Mr. Cashman himself:

“First base is his skill set,” Cashman said. “The move to the outfield would not make sense. I am not running him down, but he is just not athletic enough for that. He is what he is.”

There you have it folks, no right field or any outfield for Bird. If he's not athletic enough to do it then he absolutely should not be out there. Bird was drafted as a catcher and forced to first base due to a back injury and if Cashman says Bird is not an outfielder then he's not an outfielder, and that's okay with me.

Yankees Leaders Through 126 Games


Games Played:

Chase Headley - 120

At Bats:

Chase Headley - 451

Runs Scored:

Brett Gardner - 79


Brett Gardner and Chase Headley - 122 each


Carlos Beltran - 29 

Home Runs:

Mark Teixeira - 31


Mark Teixeira - 79


Jacoby Ellsbury - .278



Nathan Eovaldi - 25


Dellin Betances - 58


Nathan Eovaldi - 13


CC Sabathia - 9


Bullpen: Dellin Betances 1.36

Rotation: Luis Severino 2.74


Rotation: Michael Pineda 117

Bullpen: Dellin Betances 104

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Atlanta Braves 8/28

Words cannot describe how excited I am to be writing this game previews. As many of you already know I was born in the Bronx, New York but due to circumstances beyond my control my mother moved me down to Atlanta, Georgia in 1999. I was crushed obviously because I would be leaving my favorite MLB team and half my heart in the Bronx but thanks to Interleague Play being implemented I at least get to see my team once every three years. That three year drought comes to an end tonight when the New York Yankees make the trip to Turner Field to face off with the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound tonight looking to put this train back on the tracks while the Braves will counter with Williams Perez. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Tanaka heads into Atlanta tonight looking to improve on his 4-2 career Interleague record and 1.66 ERA in six starts. Tanaka has never faced the Braves in his career and will look to rebound off a tough loss to the Cleveland Indians last time out after allowing four runs, three of them earned, over six innings.

  • Perez is in the middle of his rookie season with the Braves and has battled with the inconsistency that many rookies face in their careers. Perez will be making his 9th start of his career tonight and will look to not fall behind most batters or get himself into unnecessary jams like he has the past month of baseball.

I tried to purchase tickets for all three games this series but having two kids, two jobs and the wife it just wasn’t meant to be this time around. Instead I will watch tonight’s game from the comfort of my own home before making the trek to Atlanta tomorrow evening to watch Luis Severino’s latest start. New York heads into this series with the offense scuffling and the team in second place so a series victory or sweep this weekend would be huge, especially for me when I go back into work on Monday morning. The Yankees have the three pitchers they want going in this series so there’s always that to mix in with a little bit of hoping and praying. Go Yankees!

Does Brian Cashman Hate Rob Refsnyder?

By now you've all seen that the Yankees plan on calling up Rob Refsnyder once rosters expand. I'm sure many people, including Daniel, are really happy. Although, they would have been happier had this happened a month ago. Two months ago? *shrugs*

I have no idea what makes some of you happy.

Yesterday Daniel wrote about Brian Cashman, particularly a quote he made before the season. In it, Cash basically talked about the team's desire to not only build the future, but also build a team that could win the World Series.

It didn't take long for somebody to bring up the fact that Rob Refsnyder is still in the minors, and use that as an example of how Cashman is full of it. On the surface that's a great point. If the team isn't calling up Refsnyder, then it looks like the whole "build for the future" thing is nothing more than lip service.

But there's a problem with this thinking....

What has Rob Refsnyder done to push for a promotion? 

Don't get me wrong. I hate Stephen Drew, just like many of you. Nor do I think Brendan Ryan is the answer. But you can't tell me that a triple-slash of .269/.360/.396 in AAA is something to salivate over. Therefore, I totally understand not wanting to lose Stephen Drew or Brendan Ryan, as one of them would likely be designated for assignment to make room for Refsnyder to be added to the active roster. If Rob was tearing the cover off the ball that would be a different story, but he's not. His on-base percentage is good, but his batting average is "meh" and his slugging percentage is poor.

And it's unlikely to expect him to improve on those numbers in Major League Baseball. I understand the promotion might be the kick in the butt he needs, but when you're trying to win now it's not a gamble you really want to make until you have to.

The fact that no trade was made for a definite starter at second base should tell you that Cashman and the Yankees are not giving up on Refsnyder. Which is a good thing. Sure, his numbers currently are far from spectacular, but that doesn't mean he should be considered a bust. It looks as though they still believe in him, but do not feel it necessary to make the move now. However, Rob is being called up in September, so he will get a shot.

Rob Refsnyder may not become a regular starter this season, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that he's the starting second baseman for them on Opening Day next season. I know it's hard for a lot of Yankees fans, but you must be patient.

Discussing a Stephen Drew Contract for 2016

The 2016 Major League Baseball season will be here before you know it and the fans will all be up in arms discussing why this guy should be signed or what it would take to trade for that guy but what will the Yankees do with Stephen Drew? Drew was acquired from the Boston Red Sox last season at the July 31st trading deadline for Kelly Johnson and struggled for the remainder of the 2014 season. As you probably remember Drew had missed almost half of the 2014 season after declining a qualifying offer and failing to find a Major League deal before the June MLB First Year Players Draft came and went. Many blamed his lack of production on not getting a full Spring Training or a full season which led the Yankees to bring him back for 2015, could a set of unforeseen reasons lead New York to bring him back for the 2016 as well?

Drew will be 33 years old when the 2016 begins and while he is unlikely to ever reach his career norms of .252/.318/.421/.739 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI he can still be useful believe it or not. Drew's one or two saving graces have been his defense at second base and his ability to stumble into one and hit a home run every once in a while. In an era where offense is down around the league and where we see the second base position especially anemic offensively Drew may not be as bad as I and others have made him out to be, especially for a modest $5 million in salary annually.

If the Yankees can bring Drew back for a salary less than what he is making in 2015 with no guarantees of an every day job I can't say I would be terribly upset about it. I've had my rants about Drew and his role on the team but it has always ended with something along the lines of me saying that Drew would very much be a welcomed addition to the team's bench and not as an every day player. Having a versatile guy on the bench defensively that can also pop a home run late in a game is never a bad thing to have, especially in the American League. Having Drew not only work with but mentor Robert Refsnyder could not hurt either as both players have one thing in common besides their uniform, neither started their careers as second baseman.

I know this sounds crazy and many may think that I am growing soft in my old age but if the Yankees want to bring back Drew for the 2016 season I am all for it, under one condition of course. That one condition being that Refsnyder is your every day second baseman. Well that and maybe a buyout of Brendan Ryan's contract that he will likely pick up on a team option for next season as well.

Quick Hit: It's Time to Sprint

The 162 game schedule for Major League Baseball is one of the most grueling, demanding and hardest schedules in all of professional sports. While the NFL plays once a week and the NBA plays three or four games a week tops the 30 MLB franchises play seven days a week and sometimes for up to three weeks straight without a day off. The Major League season is definitely a marathon where you're only as good as your next day's starting pitcher, well until the clock is about to turn to September.

The marathon begins a sprint tonight as the New York Yankees head down to Atlanta to face off with the Atlanta Braes. The Yankees are in second place in the American League East Division trailing the Toronto Blue Jays and would host a one-game playoff game in the Wild Card Round if the season were to end today. New York has a tough schedule going forward, probably much tougher than Toronto's, making every single game and every winnable game that much more important.

The Yankees have 32 games left this season barring a one-game playoff to decide a division winner or Wild Card winner including many games head-to-head with the Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox. No more days off for general soreness, no more days off just because you need some rest and no more days off unless absolutely necessary.

We're going to battle and we need all hands on deck. Let's go to war and let's win this thing!

Weekly Check In: Robert Refsnyder

Including today we are likely five days away from finally seeing Robert Refsnyder back inside a Yankees uniform, assuming the team doesn’t keep him in Scranton for a potential playoff push. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has already put RailRiders manager Dave Miley on notice when he informed him that a ton of talent was coming up from his team on September 1st, that list just better include Refsnyder. Cashman did come out yesterday and confirm that Cashman was coming up, and I'm not saying I think Cashman is a liar (Bubba Crosby is our starting center fielder), but I'm cautiously optimistic until the move is official. 

I don’t believe in coincidences and with that in mind I truly think the Yankees are doing more harm than good right now with Refsnyder. It’s not a coincidence in my eyes that Refsnyder made just one error in his last two or three weeks before his call up and has made more than a handful since his untimely demotion back to Triple-A. Some call it having an attitude but I call it being discouraged because during your entire minor league career you’re told to work hard, to do well and good things will come to those who wait. Refsnyder has held up his end of the bargain but in my opinion the Yankees have not.

Refsnyder is discouraged, he thinks he is ready to compete at the next level and he’s likely bored at his current level. It’s not uncommon, remember when Zack Greinke was in Kansas City and he told ESPN the Magazine that he was so bored while pitching for the Royals that he used to make up games inside his head while he was pitching? His results suffered and so did his on the field product. Greinke suffered from anxiety and has since been placed on medication and seen his career take off in Los Angeles and Refsnyder is just anxious, anxious to help the team that drafted him into the playoffs and into the World Series.

Call the kid up, dammit!


Thunder's Annual Hope Week Begins on Monday August 31

On Monday, The Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, will begin participation in a collection of community events called HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere and Excel). HOPE Week is a New York Yankees initiative designed to reach out to remarkable people and organzations who are worthy of recognition for their inspiring actions and support of their communities.

The following are the honorees and/or outreach events of Thunder HOPE Week. Each will consist of the Thunder players, mascot and staff visiting a loaction and/or presentation prior to that night's game.

Monday, August 31: Uganda Little League World Series Team. Thunder minority owner Richard Stanley has had a hand in the birth of baseball in the country of Uganda and the Little League World Series team will play a game at West Windsor Little League at 1:30pm on Monday afternoon. The Uganda team will then travel to ARM & HAMMER Park and meet Thunder players and coaches and be honored on the field before the game.

Tuesday, September 1: Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County. Thunder players will travel to the new Boys & Girls Club Center, located at 1040 Spruce St. in Lawrence, NJ, and spend the morning taking part in enrichment and recreational programs with the youth of Mercer County.

Wednesday, September 2: New Hope Academy. Located in Yardley, PA, New Hope Academy provides individualized education, not only for students with documented Individualized Education Plans (IEP's) but for all of their students. Each student progresses at his or her own pace, yet collectively they are challenged to stretch beyond their comfort levels and achieve beyond their expectations. Thunder players and coaches will tour the facility, meet the Founder and Executive Director, Kathleen Rosso-Ganna, and speak with the students.

Thursday, September 3: Miracle League of Mercer County. Earlier this summer, Thunder players participated in games at the Miracle League of Mercer County. The Miracle League is a non-profit organization created for and dedicated to providing individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in an organized baseball league that celebrates their spirit in a non-competitive atmosphere. The Thunder will welcome Miracle League players to ARM & HAMMER Park and honor them in an on-field ceremony prior to the game.

Friday, September 4: Hope Loves Company. HLC is the only non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to the children of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patitents. The mission of Hope Loves Company is to provide emotional and educational support to children and young adults who have family members battling ALS. Hope Loves Company and some of the children they support will be recognized on the field.

The New York Yankees began HOPE Week in 2009 in an attempt to inspire people to follow the actions of a few great individuals who have proved how much they care for their own communities by giving back and helping as much as they could. The Thunder are proud to join the Yankees in celebrating HOPE Week for the fourth time in 2015.

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/28: Yankees & Red Sox Play Final Game In The Old Yankee Stadium

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have played many historic and meaningful games in the old Yankee Stadium but the two teams played their final game in the House that Ruth Built on this day in 2008. These two teams fought tooth and nail against each other in this stadium for 85 years and it was fitting how the final game ended. The Yankees were losing 2-0 and came from behind thanks to a Jason Giambi seventh inning pinch hit two run home run to tie. Giambi would come up in the ninth inning and would get a walk off single to beat Boston 3-2 to avoid a sweep and keeps their playoff hopes alive.

Also on this day in 2007 the fans at Yankee Stadium were all entertained by a squirrel who stayed on the right field foul pole to watch the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-3. The squirrel was quickly called a good luck charm and a fan favorite while receiving standing ovations and cheers every time he was shown on the scoreboard screen.