Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/8

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles are ready to face off tonight in their second game of their three game set head-to-head inside Yankee Stadium. Very little makes me feel better than beating an American League East Division rival and nothing makes me happier than beating Buck Showalter. Hey Buck, you got fired 20 seasons ago... get over it. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound tonight to face off against Kevin Gausman for the Orioles. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees welcome CC Sabathia back to the mound tomorrow night in the Bronx and welcome the Toronto Blue Jays for the next four games inside Yankee Stadium this weekend. Click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog and get your tickets now to see any of these five games in the Bronx or any game for the remainder of this season. Before you know it, assuming things go well, the Yankees will have playoff tickets on sale as well so be on the lookout for that. Until the playoffs be sure to head over to Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to root for the home team and to ensure that the team gets there.

Happy Tanaka Day Yankees family, Go Yankees!

The 2016 Yankees Schedule Has Been Released!

Major League Baseball has announced their tentative 2016 schedules around the league today so let’s take a minute to look over the Yankees schedule.

First and foremost Opening Day is on April 4 as the New York Yankees travel home to Yankee Stadium to play host to the Houston Astros. New York won’t be long for the Bronx though as the team travels out for a road game on April 8 against the Detroit Tigers.

The Yankees will play the National League West in interleague play in 2016 meaning games with the Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres.

The All-Star Game in July 12. The Yankees head into the break on a 10-game road trip.

The last time the Yankees play those annoying games that don’t start until 10:00 pm ET and end sometime in the middle of the night (I think they call them West Coast games) is August 19 – August 24 when the team faces the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Seattle Mariners.

The Rockies (6-21), Giants (7-22) and Dodgers (9-12) will come to the Bronx while New York travel to Arizona (5-16), Colorado (6-14) and San Diego (7/1) in 2016.

The Yankees and Mets go head-to-head four more times in 2016 with the first two games coming August 1 and August 2 in Queens while the next two nights the team face off in the Bronx.

For the entire month of September, with the exception of the three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers inside Yankee Stadium, the team will face off with American League East Division rivals.

The Yankees will end their season with home series against the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles with the final day of the season going down on October 2. 

Can't Predict Baseball:a First in Major League History w/ Just 23 Fans in Attendance to tell About it

When you think of the greatest games in Major League history and all the greatest feats in the game you think of jam packed stadiums and crowds rocking and the stadium going wild, right? Not so much on this day in 1916 when the Philadelphia Athletic's switch hitter Wally Schang became the first player in major league history to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game. This feat would not be accomplished again until 1940.

What made this especially special was there was only 23 fans attending the game due to rain. This was the smallest crowd in American League history and for such a historic feat to happen really goes to show you, you just cannot predict baseball Suzyn.

When It Rains... It Pours... With Injuries

Earlier today I wrote about the loss of Nathan Eovaldi, and how it was really difficult for me to find a silver lining in it. Soon after posting that I read some more news, and it made things even worse.

Sure, like all of you, I was aware of the injury to Mark Teixeira. What I didn't know was that even Brian Cashman doesn't feel too confident about him coming back to help the Yankees take back and win the AL East.

Brett Gardner is not in the starting lineup today, just like he wasn't in the starting lineup yesterday. Brett got a platelet-rich plasma injection in his shoulder, which he hurt while crashing into the wall to make a catch the other day. Gardner will be available off the bench today, although seeing as how he's hit .197/.285/.270 since the beginning of August, a couple days off wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to him.

Brian Cashman has said that a trade for another starter won't be happening, so Adam Warren is being stretched out so that he can be added into the starting rotation. Also, Bryan Mitchell could be an option for the rotation. And while hearing Mitchell as a rotation option isn't going to make too many Yankees fans jump for joy, Warren and his 3.59 ERA as a starter this season will be welcomed.

If there was ever a time for Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pienda to revert back to their 2014 selves, and the return of Ivan Nova 2013 (minus the injury stuff, of course), it is now.

Robert Refsnyder Getting the Derek Jeter Treatment?

On May 29, 1995 the New York Yankees called up their top prospect Derek Jeter after both Pat Kelly and Tony Fernandez suffered injuries throughout the season. Jeter lasted a whopping 13 games where he hit .250 with two errors before being demoted back to Triple-A where he stayed until September 1st. When rosters expanded the Yankees called up their young shortstop and top prospect but somewhat surprisingly did not allow him to play much. The Yankees were in the middle of a Wild Card chase and only allowed Jeter into two games in September, one was as a defensive replacement in a Yankees blowout victory and one was a start where he got one at bat before being replaced by Randy Velarde at shortstop. Does any of this sound somewhat familiar?

The New York Yankees called up Refsnyder on July 11, 2015 and allowed him into four games before optioning him back down to Triple-A. Refsnyder, like Jeter, has concerns about his defense and the line of thinking was that the half season in Scranton would only be beneficial to the young 24-year old. Refsnyder remained in a RailRiders uniform until September 1st when the Yankees traded him for a uniform without his name on the back and a fresh set of pinstripes. Refsnyder sat on the bench on September 1 and has remained there through Labor Day despite the fact that the Yankees have faced multiple left-handed pitchers.

Brendan Ryan has gotten starts, Jose Pirela has gotten starts and entered late in blowout victories but Refsnyder has remained on the bench with his bat and glove in his hands. Is Refsnyder being groomed and taught while on the bench with the 2016 season in mind like Jeter was in 1995 with the 1996 season in mind? Will Refsnyder travel with the team if/when they make the playoffs despite not being on the postseason roster like Jeter did in the 1995 American League Division Series? Those two questions don't have answers at this time but it's not too early, in my opinion anyway, to start merely pointing out the similarities in the two situations (not the similarities in the players).

Life After Nathan

After having read about the injury to Nathan Eovaldi, I was doing what I always do and trying to find the silver lining. After all, perhaps the Yankees can simply score enough runs to overcome the drop from Eovaldi to his replacement?

I started by taking a look at what Eovaldi has done recently. Was he really that good? Well, ever since his atrocious start against the Miami Marlins on June 20th, Nathan has an ERA of 3.43 and a triple-slash against of .244/.310/.297.


So what if he was the Yankees best starter, by far (his fWAR in the past 30 days is 1.0, which is 0.6 wins higher than second best Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino) over the past 30 days? The Yankees have managed to win plenty of games without ace-like performances from their starters, thanks to a great bullpen and/or good hitting. So they can weather this storm? Right?

While Nathan's elbow takes a couple of weeks off, his replacement will be the returning CC Sabathia.

Yes, even the babies of Yankees fans are crying about this bit of news.

It's true that Sabathia was better over his last four starts before landing on the DL. However, I wouldn't get too excited if I were you. Sure, CC's ERA in those four games was a pretty good 3.80. Unfortunately, opposing hitters were still able to put up a batting line of .269/.367/.372. A couple of timely hits and that ERA of Sabathia's in those four games would be a wee bit higher.

And if you don't buy into small sample sizes, and you shouldn't, I'm afraid to tell you that during the same time Nathan Eovaldi put up that 3.43 ERA and .244/.310/.297 triple-slash against, Mr. Sabathia had an ERA of 5.20 and triple-slash against of .288/.358/.470.

So even though I'm normally optimistic about the Yankees, in this case it's pretty darn hard. See, I won't so much be hoping that CC Sabathia can replicate what Eovaldi has done for the team. No. I'm going to be hoping that the Toronto Blue Jays come crashing down to Earth, instead of having a winning percentage of .758 like they've had since August 1st.

"Please, Lord."

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/8

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles will continue their three game set this evening at Yankee Stadium as both teams continue to push towards the playoffs. The Yankees are still sticking around in the American League East Division while holding what seems to be a comfortable lead for the first AL Wild Card playoff spot while the Orioles are falling farther and farther behind in the second Wild Card chase. New York may not mathematically eliminate Baltimore this week with a series victory but they could essentially end their season with a win adding more incentive to winning these games. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound looking to achieve that task while the Orioles look to stay alive with Kevin Gausman on the mound. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Tanaka will be making his fourth career start against the Orioles this evening looking to improve on his 1-1 record and 3.74 ERA against them. Tanaka has won two of his last three starts for New York and has given the Yankees length pitching at least six innings in every outing he has made since June 27th of this year. 

  • Gausman will be making his 11th career start against the New York Yankees tonight and has actually pitched well against them in his career. Gausman owns a career 3-2 record with a 2.94 ERA against the Bronx Bombers and will look to end a six-start winless streak tonight at the hands of the Yankees. 

New York welcomes CC Sabathia back to the team and back to the starting rotation tomorrow afternoon just before welcoming the red hot Toronto Blue Jays to town for a huge four-game series in the Bronx. September baseball that is actually meaningful is awesome, although it has taken years off my life admittedly, and it's only going to get more intense making all these "winnable" games all the more important including this game tonight. Just win, Go Yankees!

Potential September Additions at First Base?

The New York Yankees have been dealing with the deep bone bruise to Mark Teixeira for the better part of a month now and have no end in sight unfortunately. The Yankees have lost their, at the time of the injury, leading RBI man and leading home run hitter in the middle of their lineup along with a perennial Gold Glove Award contending first baseman in the infield. New York held onto their top first base prospect Greg Bird at the trading deadline and have been using him daily at the position but could the team be thinking of adding a right-handed platoon partner?

Just because the August 31st trading deadline has come and passed it doesn't mean that trades cannot go down for the remainder of the season. Players can still be passed through waivers and traded for the remainder of the season but any player traded during the month of September or October would be ineligible for postseason play. That wouldn't be a big issue for New York if they believe that Teixeira will be back before the end of the 2015 regular season so a potential trade may at least be in the works for a right-handed bat at first base.

Two names that are especially interesting are Houston Astros first baseman Chris Carter and Miami Marlins first baseman/third baseman Casey McGehee. Both of these players have already cleared waivers and could not stop trades to the Big Apple while both have right-handed bats that could platoon with Bird at first but both candidates are far from perfect or ideal.

Carter is batting .182 at the time of this post going live but he his saving grace has been the fact that he has hit 18 home runs and drove in 52 RBI. Carter strikes out a lot and his splits against right-handed pitching and left-handed pitching are almost identical, they are terrible. Carter is an all or nothing option at the plate and may not be any better than what the Yankees currently have in Bird.

McGehee has been bounced around this season between the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues with the San Francisco Giants before being designated for assignment by the club. McGehee has not benefited from the change of scenery in Miami and adds absolutely nothing in the power department. If there is one saving grace for McGehee it's that his batting average is 67 points higher against left-handed pitching than against right-handed pitching making him an ideal platoon candidate.

The thing you have to keep in mind is acquiring both of these players is going to cost something either in terms of players, cash or both. Both players would also have to be added to the 40 man roster presumably costing the Yankees another player. Rosters are expanded right now so the loss would be minimal at this point but when I look at the Yankees 40 man roster I don't see an obvious candidate to go and that may keep GM Brian Cashman from a trade this month.

Quick Hit: #WheresRefsnyder

Where the hell is Robert Refsnyder? 

Let's cut to the chase here because we all know the story. The New York Yankees called up second base prospect Robert Refsnyder before the All-Star break to play against the upcoming left-handed pitchers the Boston Red Sox were ready to throw out against them inside Fenway Park. Refsnyder stuck around after Fenway and seemingly gained the trust of manager Joe Girardi before Yankees GM Brian Cashman sent him down to Triple-A to make room for Carlos Beltran on the active roster frustrating an entire fan base.

That same fan base has waited patiently until the calendar changed over to September to see Refsnyder back in the Yankees pinstripes and back on the roster and over a week into expanded rosters we're all just standing here asking the original question, where the hell is Robert Refsnyder? Is he getting the "Derek Jeter" treatment where he will be called up in the middle of a pennant race to watch and prime himself rather than participate? Is he being punished for his "attitude problem?"

Unfortunately this is another post where there are a ton of questions and not enough answers because I still don't know where the hell Robert Refsnyder is and that's a shame.

Weekly Check In: Jake Cave

The New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders, won the International League North Division this season despite Yankees GM Brian Cashman leaving a revolving door and shuttle bus going 24 hours a day between the Bronx and PNC Field. Scranton played their final game of the regular season on Sunday against the Syracuse Chiefs and the RailRiders, and today's check in Jake Cave specifically, went out in a big way setting the tone for the team in the playoffs.

Cave finished his 2015 regular season off with a big 4-for-5 night at the plate that included a double as the team's lead-off man. Cave capped off a very impressive 2015 season that will either lead to him being added to the 40 man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft or he will finally get a shot in the Major Leagues with another team in 2016 barring injury.


This Day In New York Yankees History 9/8: ARod Hits #50

Before this day in 2007 only three members of the New York Yankees had ever hit 50 home runs in a single season, Babe Ruth (1920-54, 1921-59, 1927-60, 1928-54), Roger Maris (1961-61), and Mickey Mantle (1956-52, 1961-54). Alex Rodriguez on this day in 2007 hit his 50th and 51st home runs of the season to become the fourth member of the Yankees to ever reach the milestone. Also the second home run breaks the major league record of 49 home runs hit by a third baseman passing Mike Schmidt of the Phillies in 1980 and Adrian Beltre of the Dodgers in 2004.

Also on this day in 1925 Babe Ruth hit his 300th career home run in the second game of a double header between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Buster Ross gave up the milestone home run in the Yankees 7-4 victory over the Red Sox.