Friday, September 30, 2016

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/30

Here we go ladies and gentleman, the final countdown. Three game and counting including tonight’s first matchup between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. Three games to decide it all and end a season. The Orioles will be heading to the postseason as a Wild Card team by all accounts and measures while the New York Yankees will be going home for a long, long winter unfortunately. In the first matchup between the two clubs the Yankees will send --- to the mound to square off with Yovani Gallardo for the Orioles. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. And MASN if you’re one of those Orioles fans and traitor types. I’m just saying.

It’s a sad feeling that I’m only going to be able to say GO YANKEES two more times after tonight. I’m not ready for the offseason. Not by a long shot. Make the best of these three games and let’s all go home.

Robert Refsnyder. I said his name three times today. Free him. 

Was Starlin Castro Better Than Stephen Drew (Sucks)?

You guys know me, you read my stuff and you follow us @GreedyStripes on Twitter, so you know that I was never a fan of Stephen Drew. I clamored for what felt like years to get the Yankees to let go of Stephen Drew and to plug Robert Refsnyder in at the position to no avail so you can understand how ecstatic I was when New York acquired Starlin Castro in the offseason from the Chicago Cubs. I was skimming through other Yankees blogs and new publications lately like I always do when I ran across a post that boggled my mind, the post was explaining how the Yankees got nothing from Castro this year that they didn’t get from Stephen Drew last year. Their basis for the post? One stat. Albeit one pretty heavily weighted stat in the sabermetric community but still just one stat. No stat, however liked or heavily used across the board, tells the whole story so I will look to tell the whole story here for you today in hopes of seeing whether Castro was better than Drew in 2016. 

In 146 games Starlin Castro has played an awesome second base committing just 11 errors while posting a .981 fielding percentage. Castro was a part of 68 double plays this season along with Didi Gregorius and while these were all career bests for the Yankees second baseman there is no reason not to think he cannot keep up this pace defensively. Drew on the other hand? In his final season in pinstripes in 2015 Drew posted 131 games played with seven errors and a .984 fielding percentage. The numbers are comparable yet no one gushes over Castro’s defense like they did for Drew. No one is using Castro’s defense as a reason to keep Robert Refsnyder out of the discussion for the second base job either. Two Robert Refsnyder references in one day. One more and you have to free him. 

In those same 146 games Castro hit 21 home runs, seven more than his career high, with a .273/.301/.434 triple slash, 69 RBI and a 1.2 WAR. Drew on the other hand? .201/.271/.381 with 44 RBI, 17 home runs and a 0.4 WAR. Castro gets the slight edge. 

One thing that was definitely not suggested or mentioned in the article that I will not link because it doesn’t deserve the attention and the views is age. Castro is 26-years old and entering the beginning of his prime while putting up these numbers. This was also Castro’s first season in the American League and the first year in front of the bright lights of Yankee Stadium. The pressure, the fan scrutiny, the media questions, etc. This is all something that Drew was used to by 2015 after heading to the World Series with the Boston Red Sox and playing with the Bronx Bombers the season prior after coming over in a trade. These are things you can’t put a stat on and this is what, in my opinion of course, sets Castro apart from Drew across the board in every category. 

Castro is the man and will continue to be the man while Stephen Drew still sucks! And you can tell him I said that too. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/30

The final series of the regular season and it’s back at home in the Bronx when the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium open their doors to welcome Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles to town for a three-game set. The Yankees are left with nothing to play for other than maybe some positioning spoiling for the Orioles while Baltimore is trying to get their roster and pitching rested up for the AL Wild Card Game. Let’s spoil the fun and in the first match the Yankees will send Michael Pineda looking to do just that while Baltimore counters with Yovani Gallardo.

Pineda will look to finish the season much stronger than he started it, especially after back-to-back solid outings in his last two starts against the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. Pineda has allowed just one run in his last 11 innings and comes into his final start 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Orioles this season.

Gallardo heads into his final start of the regular season fresh off a pretty good start last time out against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gallardo threw a quality start against the Diamondbacks hurling six innings while allowing two runs in a Baltimore victory.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. Damn I’m going to miss Michael Kay here is a few weeks and damn I am really going to miss seeing these Baby Bombers and this team claw and fight every single night. Who came up with this silly rule that baseball had to end for the winter? Not me. Go Yankees!

Yankees Youth Movement Only Needs One More Thing….

Get your pitchforks out Yankees family, we’re about to have a bonfire and a pig roast because the New York Yankees and their newfound youth movement need just one more thing. A new manager. I know, I know, I’ve been one of the bigger Joe Girardi supporters during his tenure here in New York and while the binder, now turned iPad, has frustrated the hell out of me his bullpen management has been and remains to be one of the better bullpen management in Major League Baseball. The Yankees have the kids up now and nothing to play for yet players like Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Austin and others remain on the bench in big games. Why? Because Girardi needs to go, that’s why. 

Before you bring up his Manager of the Year Award with like 17 players who couldn’t even legally buy beer yet in Miami let me stop you. First of all that was a long time ago and secondly that’s all he had at his disposal. Girardi does great with managing and managing young kids but he only does so when his hand is forced and the New York Yankees will never force his hand in my opinion. They will always have that veteran option either down in Triple-A or on the MLB roster “just in case.” The problem here is Girardi uses his “just in case” options far more than he should and it’s really, really annoying and frustrating to watch as a fan who is devoted to this rebuild. 

I mean look at it this way. Brian Cashman traded away Carlos Beltran and that is the ONLY reason we saw Aaron Judge. Aaron Hicks got injured and that is the ONLY reason we saw Mason Williams. Ben Gamel was great for us yet the sample size is too small to really jump up and down about because he was hardly ever used leading to him being traded to the Seattle Mariners. He wasn’t even good enough in the Yankees eyes to use as a stolen base guy off the bench despite having comparable numbers to the guy they traded for, Eric Young Jr. of the Milwaukee Brewers, and gave his roster spot to in less at bats and opportunities. But Young is a veteran. 

You know what the biggest problem is? Talent bails out Girardi more times than not and Wednesday night was the perfect example of that. On Tuesday night Tyler Austin has a three-hit game including a game winning home run so what does Girardi do in his infinite wisdom? Sits him the next day in lieu of Mark Teixeira. Sure, Teixeira hit the game winning walk-off grand slam in the game which stopped all the questions from the media after the game but what if he didn’t? What if that’s never an issue if Austin starts the game and the Yankees offense actually scores before the 9th inning? 

Joe Girardi is just frustrating me right now and I just don’t think he is the right fit for this team anymore. Does that mean he’s a bad manager? No, hell no in fact, but I also don’t think he is going to be able to get out of his own way with the veterans still on this club. He may not be the manager for the youth movement, at least in my opinion.

Oh, and FREE REFSNYDER! You almost made it a prospects post without hearing about him. 

Scoreboard Watching for September 30th

Three more games… three games to decide it all. Let’s get to it.

AL Wild Card Race: 

Baltimore Orioles @ New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays @ Boston Red Sox

Detroit Tigers @ Atlanta Braves
Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles

National League Wild Card: 

New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis Cardinals

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/30: Yankees Win 100 Games

On this day in 2004 the Yankees won their 100th game, something they have done in three straight seasons, and their seventh consecutive American League Eastern Division championship. The Yankees join only the Braves from 1997-1999, the Orioles from 1969-1971, and the A's from 1929-1931 as the fourth team to win 100 games in three straight seasons.

Also on this day in 1973 the Yankees played, and lost, their final game played at the old Yankees Stadium before George Steinbrenner had the field renovated. The 50 year old Cathedral of Baseball would take two years to renovate while the Yankees played their home games at Shea Stadium.

Also on this day in 1966 Roger Maris blasted a two run home run in his final at bat as a member of the New York Yankees. Maris would be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the season for utility man Charley Smith.

Also on this day in 1962 Mickey Mantle belted his 30th home run of the season off of the White Sox's Ray Herbet. This would be the Mick's eight consecutive season of hitting at least 30 home runs in a season. This was amazing considering Mantle missed a month of the season with a leg injury.

Finally on this day in 1927 Babe Ruth would break his own record for home runs in a single season when he hit his 60th of the season off of Senators starter Tom Zachary. In a side note Hall of Famer Walter Johnson would make his final appearance of his major league career when he pinch hit in this game.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Yanks Sweep, Eliminated From Playoff Race With O's Victory

Even though the Yankees completed the three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox tonight, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Toronto Blue Jays and officially eliminated New York from playoff contention. After their extremely rough road trip a week ago, you had to see this coming, but it didn't make it any easier to stomach. C.C. Sabathia took the mound for the final time this season and pitched his butt off, improving to a 13-13 career record against the Red Sox with his win tonight. Taking the bump and the loss for Boston was left-hander Henry Owens. Falling to a meager 0-2 this season with his less than stellar performance on a chilly night in the Bronx.

After Sabathia impressively struck out the side in order to begin the ballgame, the Yankees were first to hit the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame. Jacoby Ellsbury worked a one-out walk and scored on a ringing two-out double to left-center by Starlin Castro, giving the Bombers a first inning one run lead.

It took a few innings, but the Red Sox came back to tie the game in the top of the fourth. Xander Bogarts launched his 21st homerun of the season, a one-out solo shot to left that knotted the game up at one apiece. After the longball, David Ortiz walked in his final at-bat ever at Yankee Stadium. Big Papi was then pinch-ran for, heading to the dugout amidst a very respectable ovation from the mixed crowd of Yankees and Red Sox fans. Ortiz's final series at the Stadium was not very kind to him, going 0-10 over the three-game set in the Bronx.

The Yankees kept the offensive pressure on in the bottom of the fifth, re-taking the lead and knocking Owens out of the game. Aaron Hicks started the inning with a bunt single that was popped up just passed the outstretched arms of Owens. With two outs, Hicks took off for second and came around to score as Jacoby Ellsbury perfectly executed the hit-and-run, lacing the ball into the right-centerfield to score Hicks and put the Yankees back on top by one. Owens was then lifted for right-hander Heath Hembree, who proceeded to get Gary Sanchez to pop out to end the frame.

New York would go on to extend their lead in the bottom of the sixth, although the two runs were more of the "given" variety as opposed to  being "produced". Castro started the rally with a single to lead off the frame, advancing to second on a Chase Headley walk. Hembree was then lifted for rookie call-up Robbie Scott, who proceeded to give up a line drive single to Brian McCann that loaded the bases with one out. After an Aaron Hicks pop out, Tyler Austin drew a two-out walk which forced Castro in from third to make it a 3-1 game. One pitch after the walk, Scott chucked a breaking ball into the dirt and passed catcher Ryan Hannigan, scoring Headley from third and extending their lead to three.

Sabathia was simply excellent tonight in his final start of the 2016 season; tossing 7.1 innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Sabathia has pitched to the tune of a 2.49 ERA in his last eight starts and will finish the season with a sub-four(3.91) ERA, which is pretty damn good considering the Yankees were unsure if he was even going to make the rotation at the end of spring training this year.

The Yankees would go on to add one more run, an RBI double by Aaron Hicks in the bottom of the eighth, leading to a final score of 5-1. And with Baltimore's win tonight, the wildcard race is now tied and both the Yankees and the Red Sox will play the role of spoiler as Baltimore heads to the Bronx and Toronto heads up to Boston.

Tomorrow night. the Yankees play the first of three games against Baltimore, which is the final series of 2016, and is scheduled for 7:05 PM/EST P

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 9/29

Here we go ladies and gentleman, one last time. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will finish off their season series tonight in David Ortiz’s last game inside Yankee Stadium. I know we’ve joked a lot on this site about him and bagged on him quite a bit but it was all in good fun and our way of showing respect to the numbers he has put up in this game. I covered much of how I feel about him in my letter to him earlier today so I won’t spend too much time on it but I just want to reiterate that it was never anything personal and much respect goes out to you for what you’ve done for the game I love, Major League Baseball. Thank you.

So in the finale between these two clubs this season the New York Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound to face off with Henry Owens for the Boston Red Sox. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. I’m truly perplexed why no one, MLB Network or ESPN especially, picked this game up. Oh well, what do I know?

No matter what the standings are telling you if you are wearing a Yankees uniform you must beat the Red Sox. It’s an unwritten rule and we wouldn’t like to break an unwritten rule on Ortiz’s final game in the Bronx, now would we? MOON BIG PAPI and Go Yankees!

Hey David Ortiz…. Look At This

…. You are NOT the father. 

David Ortiz’s Letter to Yankees Fans

So I write a letter to David Ortiz this morning and by the afternoon we already have a response. Talk about service right? And only service you can get here at The Greedy Pinstripes mind you. I wish we had that much pull around the team and around baseball but instead I am referring to the article that Ortiz posted on the Derek Jeter owned Players Tribune where he wrote a letter to New York and the fans of the New York Yankees. To read the entire article head over to the Players Tribune and give it a read while I sample it for you here before tonight’s finale in the Bronx.

“The other day, one of my teammates comes over to me in the clubhouse and says, “Hey, you see what they’re gonna do to you in New York?”
I don’t know what he’s talking about.
I’m like, “What’s up? They gonna give me a pizza or something?”
He says, “Nah. Your last game, the fans are gonna pull their pants down.”
I’m like, “Nah, bro. Come on. Be serious.”
Then he shows me an article on his phone about some guy who’s trying to get everybody in Yankee Stadium to moon me.
This dude even made a whole website:
Come on.
Let me tell you something. If 50,000 people moon me, I promise you two things.
First, I’m gonna laugh so hard I might start crying.O
When the tears dry, I’m gonna step up to the plate and try to hit the ball all the way to the choo choo train. You gotta be careful. You guys don’t have Mariano no more, you know what I’m saying?
Listen, Yankee fans. I gotta admit something to you. And I’m serious about this. I got love for you.
It’s just a little bit of love, but I do.”

Okay. The fact that he’s seen and then plugged it on this post is absolutely amazing. I love it. So awesome. Carrying on.

“My mom did everything at home, and she still had side-jobs to get us extra money. In those days, you could buy clothes real cheap in CuraƧao, so she used to take shopping trips to the island. She would load up two suitcases full of dress clothes and bring them back to Santo Domingo to sell them to the workers at the hotel resorts.
It was a way to make a little bit of extra money. She would do whatever it took to make sure we were fine.
When I was playing Double A ball in ’97, I got her a visa to come to the States for the first time. It was just the two of us chilling in Connecticut for a few days. She got to visit New York City before she flew back home, and she was just so happy. Her dream, her whole life, was to give her kids an opportunity. New York City, to us, was like the capital of the world.
My mom died in a car accident in 2002, before I got to the Red Sox and really started having success in the big leagues. My life has turned out amazing, but the only thing I wish is that she could be here for all this. When I take the field at Yankee Stadium for the last time, she’s not gonna be there to see it. That’s kind of tough, to be honest with you. But I know she would be so proud that we made it to the top of the world.”

Many forget that Major League Baseball players are also human. This is not “just a kids game” to them. This is life and they have a life outside of it just like you or I. Moving on.

“When I was a kid, I used to tear the heads off my sister’s dolls and use them as baseballs. I’d steal a broomstick from my mom’s closet and hit the heads over this fence. Whoom, Barbie went flying into the sky.
I used to dream that I was hitting home runs at Yankee Stadium.
Nowadays, I hope the kids doing that same shit are dreaming they’re at Fenway.
Yankee fans, I got one final thing to tell you.
Thank you. For real. You pulled the best out of me.
When you boo me, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
I’m not gonna lie to you. Sometimes I get outta bed in the morning, and it’s like, Damn. What happened? I got old. It takes me a long time to get my body ready for these games now. But I guarantee you this. When our bus pulls up to Yankee Stadium today, I’m gonna be ready to go. And when I hear you boo me, I’m gonna try to hit the ball over that white fence, all the way to the mother******* choo choo train.


Let’s hope not. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 9/29

The time has come ladies and gentleman to say hello to the Boston Red Sox one last time and the time has also come to hold the door open for them as they leave just long enough to slam it in their faces and watch them break their noses. Too far? Yeah, I’m kind of becoming known for that. I joke of course but tonight’s game is no joke as the New York Yankees send lefty CC Sabathia to the mound to square off with a fellow lefty in Henry Owens for the Red Sox.

Sabathia will make his final start of the season tonight and it comes on the heels of pitching an absolute gem last time out against the Blue Jays. Sabathia has pitched extremely well as of late and has seemed to get better and stronger as the season has gone on but he has little to show for it after four straight no-decisions. The Yankees offense has gone to sleep so here’s to hoping the alarm clock goes off sometime before 7:00 pm tonight in the Bronx.

Owens will make the start for the Red Sox tonight instead of Drew Pomeranz after Pomeranz complained of some left forearm soreness. AJ Preller is somewhere hiding his face. Owens was a September call up for the Red Sox and will make his first start for the club since August 21st of 2016. Owens was 10-7 with a 3.53 ERA in Triple-A at the time of his call up. Oh and by the way, in case you missed it, tonight is David Ortiz’s final start in the Bronx so… no pressure.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. All eyes on Michael Kay and the crew over at NESN tonight for David’s final game in the Bronx as, at the time of this writing anyway, no major sports broadcast will have the game. Oh well, they picked up Derek Jeter’s final game in the Bronx. I’m just saying. Go Yankees!

My Goodbye Letter to David Ortiz


What can I say that 29 other teams haven’t already said to you this season? The truth. Now before you simply wad this letter up and throw it away at least give me a chance to explain myself. When I say the truth I don’t mean I am going to be disrespectful or that I’m going to slander you or anything. Instead I am going to give you a fan’s perspective, specifically a Yankees fan’s perspective, on your career and what comes after you hang up your cleats after this season. 

You failed a drug test. We all know you failed a drug test. It may have been “some damn thing you got over the counter at GNC” but you failed a drug test nonetheless. Just admit it. Be the poster child for forgiveness and be the first player with a failed drug test to enter the Hall of Fame. Honestly, I want you to. Set the tone and allow others who did what was in the full spectrum of Major League Baseball’s rules at the time get in as well. I’m asking you to lead the charge and I’m definitely not bagging on you. We’ve forgiven all steroid users here including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun and we can do the same for you, we just ask for a little help and getting the rest of the world and the rest of the game caught up to the idea is all. 

You killed the Yankees. You killed them from pretty may day one as a member of the Red Sox. You killed them in the regular season and you killed them in the playoffs. Chill! But really what you have done stats wise, numbers wise and clutch wise is truly amazing. You were a huge part of the team that broke the Curse of the Bambino and you didn’t do it backing in, you walked right up to the Yankees and slapped them in the face four times in a row and you did it a couple times against the greatest closer of all-time in Mariano Rivera. You have to respect that, much respect. 

I may not agree with everything that you say or do on and off the field and I have may have called you a baby or self-entitled at times but coming from a Yankees fan that’s got to be the biggest and most sincerest form of respect. You hurt the Yankees? The fans boo you. It’s as simple as that, it’s a rite of passage. Haters keep you famous. You must be doing something right. So as you step into the batter’s box one last time inside Yankee Stadium I leave you with one bit of advice. Blink. Blink and so much will pass you by. 

Much love and much respect,

Daniel Burch

Scoreboard Watching for September 29th

The only game that matters in this household and the only game that matters to us here at The Greedy Pinstripes is the David Ortiz farewell game in the Bronx tonight. Here are the other games if you’re looking to stay up to the second on the postseason chases in both the American League and National League. But really, watch the YES Network tonight at 7:00 pm and see if the Yankee Stadium crowd cheers, boo’s or moons Big Papi in his final at bats in the Bronx.

AL East Race:

Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles

AL Wild Card Race: 

Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians
Seattle Mariners vs.. Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros - OFF
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals  vs. Minnesota Twins

National League Wild Card: 

New York Mets - OFF
San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/29: Don Mattingly Has Six Grand Slams

Don Mattingly had a career with the bases loaded in 1987 as he hit more home runs with the bases loaded this season then some people hit in their entire careers. Mattingly set a major league record on this day by hitting his sixth grand slam of the season passing Ernie Banks (1955 Chicago Cubs) and Jim Gentile (1961 Baltimore Orioles). What makes this more amazing is Mattingly played 14 seasons in his career and never hit another grand slam outside of the 1987 season.

Also on this day in 1934 Babe Ruth hit his 659th and final home run in a New York Yankees uniform. Ruth had 49 home runs with the Boston Red Sox before being sold to New York and would add six more with the Boston Braves before retiring in the 1935 season.

Teixeira's Slam Walks Off Sox, 5-3

On a misty night in the Bronx, the New York Yankees staved off playoff elimination with a walk off victory over the Boston Red Sox. Rookie Brian Mitchell got the start for New York and was absolutely phenomenal in seven innings of shutout ball, recording his best outing of his young career. On the other side of tonight's pitcher's duel for Boston was righty Clay Buchholz, who tossed six shutout innings but received yet another no-decision. In a sweet ironic twist, the Yankees(like Boston in last Thursday night's game at Fenway) never had the lead until the final batter of the game walked off the opposition with a HUGE homerun that sent the faithful home happy.

Both Mitchell and Buchholz did well to limit the offensive action early on, as both teams combined for just one hit and two walks through the first three frames. Buchholz did not allow the Yankees first base hit, a squibbed infield single by Brett Gardner, until the bottom of the fourth. Mitchell gave up only one hit through the Red Sox's first five innings, a line drive single by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the top of the second, but did walk four men(three in the fifth alone) during that same time frame.

In fact, Brett Gardner was the only Yankee to reach base at all against the crafty Buchholz, gathering the only hit and two walks over six innings against the righty.

Although Mitchell pitched seven stellar shut out innings of work, Adam Warren came on in the eighth and proceeded to serve up the first runs of the night. Sandy Leon began the frame by reaching on a fielding error by second baseman Starlin Castro, advancing to third on a ground-rule double off the bat of Dustin Pedroia. After Xander Bogarts lined out to third for the first out, Warren intentionally walked Yankee killer David Ortiz to load the bases for Mookie Betts. The MVP caliber season continued for Betts as he hit a ground ball to third that hopped over the head of Chase Headley and into left field, scoring two of the three baserunners to give the Red Sox a late 2-0 lead. Warren was lifted for lefty Tommy Layne, who allowed Ortiz to score on a passed ball by Gary Sanchez to extend the Red Sox lead to three.

The Yanks battled their butts off in the bottom of the ninth to get back in the game against the Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. After Brett Gardner reached with his second single of the night to lead off the frame, three consecutive walks to Ellsbury, Sanchez and McCann led to the Yankees pushing across their first run of the night, 3-1. Kimbrel was then lifted for right-hander Joe Kelly, who proceeded to get Castro and Gregorius out before serving up a walk-off grand slam to our retiree Mark Teixeira. The longball, a deep blast to dead center, kept the Yankees slim playoff hopes alive as Baltimore also beat Toronto tonight, shrinking New York's "tragic" number to one while simultaneously crowning the Red Sox as AL Eastern Division champs.

The Bombers look to complete the three-game sweep over their rivals tomorrow night; saying goodbye to the retiring David Ortiz, capitulated by a special pregame ceremony prior to first pitch which is scheduled for 705 PM/EST.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 9/28

Bet he stole that guitar from his High School too.... piece of sh*t

Here we go again ladies and gentleman with the penultimate game in the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry in 2016. Another season of intense matchups between these two historic teams is set to come to a close tomorrow night with the Yankees honoring David Ortiz’s final trip to the Bronx. Tonight though the team honors the great rookies and players they currently have by kicking the heads in of the Red Sox. On the field of course, not literally. In the matchup tonight the New York Yankees will send Bryan Mitchell to the mound looking to remain dominant again after a fantastic start last time out while the Red Sox will counter with who I called earlier “Mr. Steal Yo Laptop” Clay Buchholz. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV.

Time to spoil David Ortiz’s going away party this week. Go Yankees!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

It’s hard to believe that this is already the last week of the 2016 regular season in Major League Baseball. The postseason starts next week and these power rankings will soon go from weekly to hibernation unfortunately here on the blog. I enjoy doing them and I think you guys enjoy reading them, the views on the material say that anyway, but it’s just one of those things that happens unfortunately. Baseball comes to an end and we are all left sitting out the window like Lou Gehrig watching winter go by depressingly while we wait for more baseball next spring. Enough with the deep chatter though, let’s see what these rankings look like for the final week of the regular season.

The New York Yankees had another rough week this week but thankfully it did not show much in the standings as the Baby Bombers finished the week 15th overall, exactly where they were last week. That is going to be a common theme throughout these rankings this week, very little to no movement whatsoever.

The Top Five did change though as the Chicago Cubs remained at the top spot followed by this week’s biggest rise the Boston Red Sox who climbed two spots to the #2 position in the rankings. The Washington Nationals are 3rd overall after clinching the National League East Division followed by the #4 Texas Rangers and the #5 Los Angeles Dodgers who knocked the Cleveland Indians to the 6th position and out of the Top 5 for the first time in a long time this season.

The five worst teams in the rankings are the #26 San Diego Padres, the #27 Cincinnati Reds, the #28 Atlanta Braves (not a typo), the #29 Arizona Diamondbacks who were also the biggest fall of the week after dropping two spots and the #30 Minnesota Twins.

To round out the American League East Division the Red Sox finished 2nd overall, the Toronto Blue Jays finished 7th, the Baltimore Orioles finished 8th, the Yankees 15th and the Tampa Bay Rays 25th overall once again.

Playoff baseball. Get ready. 

2016 MiLB Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winners

Unfortunately not a single member of the Yankees won a Gold Glove Award for Minor League Baseball this season but here is the official press release anyway from Enjoy. 

Minor League Baseball Names 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® Winners     
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Minor League Baseball and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., today announced Minor League Baseball’s recipients of the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award® for defensive excellence at their positions. The honorees were selected among qualifying players from the 10 domestic-based, full-season Minor Leagues. Each player will receive his own Rawlings Gold Glove Award, modeled after the iconic award given to Major League Baseball’s top defensive players, during the 2017 season. 

“Congratulations to the nine outstanding Minor League Baseball players who deservedly won the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award®,” said Mike Thompson, executive vice president of marketing for St. Louis-based Rawlings. “Minor League Baseball is and will always continue to be a great partner of Rawlings, and we knew the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® would be a popular goal for many young players when we rekindled the Minor League award platform back in 2011.” 

“These nine players were truly the finest in the field this summer and it is my pleasure to honor them with a Rawlings Gold Glove Award®,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “These players displayed extraordinary skills at their positions this season, and on behalf of Minor League Baseball, I congratulate them on this outstanding accomplishment.”    

First baseman Matt Skole posted a .999 fielding percentage in 97 games with Syracuse. A sixth-year pro out of Georgia Tech University, Skole made only one error in 874 chances at first base. Skole, 27, was selected by Washington in the fifth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.  

Birmingham second baseman Joey DeMichele is the only repeat winner from 2015, as he registered a .990 fielding percentage in 122 games for the Barons in 2016. The fifth-year pro out of Arizona State University recorded 579 total chances and was a part of 88 double plays. DeMichele, 25, was selected by the White Sox in the third round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.   

Pensacola shortstop Zach Vincej recorded a .991 fielding percentage in 105 games for the Blue Wahoos. Vincej, 25, who had 423 total chances and turned 54 double plays, was the only shortstop with a fielding percentage north of .985. Vincej was selected by Cincinnati in the 37th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Pepperdine University.   

Reno third baseman Carlos Rivero posted a .987 fielding percentage in 110 games at the hot corner for the Aces. Rivero made just two fielding errors in 234 chances. Rivero, 28, was originally signed by the Cleveland Indians as an international free agent on May 30, 2005 out of Barquisimeto, Venezuela. 

Myrtle Beach left fielder Charcer Burks recorded a .991 fielding percentage in 104 games for the Pelicans. The fourth-year pro had 214 chances and recorded seven assists. Burks, 21, was a ninth round pick of the Cubs in the 2013 First-Year Player draft out of William B. Travis High School in Richmond, Texas. 

Akron RubberDucks center fielder Greg Allen recorded a .994 fielding percentage in 128 games as he made two errors in 332 chances. Allen, who split the season between Class-A Lynchburg and Double-A Akron, also posted a career-high 15 outfield assists. Allen, 23, was selected by Cleveland in the sixth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of San Diego State University. 

Right fielder Mike Gerber split the season between Class-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie, but was perfect in 118 games in the field, recording 251 chances and six assists without committing an error. Gerber, 24, was selected by Detroit in the 15th round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Creighton University. 

High Desert backstop Jose Trevino posted a .998 fielding percentage in 100 games behind the plate for the California League champion Mavericks. Trevino posted 102 assists and a whopping 950 total chances (no other catcher in the top 25 in fielding percentage had more than 780 total chances) and threw out 47 of 98 potential base stealers. Trevino, 23, was selected by Texas in the sixth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Oral Roberts University. 

Pitcher James Naile posted a perfect fielding percentage on 48 chances over 156.2 innings pitched in his 28 games (26 starts) for Class-A Beloit, Class-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Naile, a second-year pro out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, was Oakland’s 20th round choice in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. 

To be eligible to receive the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, players must have participated in one of the 10 domestic-based, fullseason leagues, and shown outstanding defensive skills. The Rawlings Gold Glove Award® was re-introduced to Minor League Baseball in 2011 after an almost 50-year hiatus.  

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 9/28

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will continue their three-game set tonight in the Bronx with Game Two of the series. Rivalry renewed, I just wish it meant more for the Yankees in the grand scheme of things. Oh well, I’m not getting down about it and I’m still rooting for my squad through all 162 games regardless of whether the standings tell me to or not. In tonight’s matchup the Yankees will send Bryan Mitchell to the mound who will look to build on a great start last time out while the Red Sox counter with “Mr. Steal Yo Laptop” Clay Buchholz. Enjoy.

Mitchell will make his fifth start of the season tonight and while the previous four have been a mixed bag of results his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays was masterful. Mitchell allowed three runs, although only one of them were earned, in six innings of work. That one run though, thanks to the Yankees offense, was just enough to take the loss unfortunately.

Buchholz also is coming into this start fresh off a great start, maybe the best start of his season, against the Baltimore Orioles where he gave up just one run in seven innings. The Red Sox have taken the victory in each of the last four games Buchholz has pitched in and have also won seven of his last eight starts down the stretch. Clutch. Just not tonight clutch.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. It’s really a shame that both teams couldn’t be more involved in the postseason this year. How I long for the years in the early and mid-2000’s where these two teams were both powerhouses at the same time and met year after year in the ALCS. As much as I hated it back then, especially in and after 2004, I think I miss it again. There’s always next year Cubs Yankees fans. Go Yankees!

Final Review on 2016 Yankees Draft

The 2016 Minor League Baseball season is officially over. The championships have been won, the games have been played and the rookies that were drafted this June can now be evaluated. When the 2016 MLB First Year Players Draft was all said and done I thought the Yankees had initially done well with their picks of Blake Rutherford, Nick Solak and others but now with half a season under their belts will I change my mind? Not likely but let’s find out.

Blake Rutherford, and call me bias if you want to, was the biggest steal of the MLB Draft. Rutherford was once thought of as first overall talent and he did nothing to make anyone believe any different in 2016. Rutherford fell because of signability concerns and the Yankees got him signed. It’s as simple as that. Rutherford is already considered to be a Top 50 prospect in all of baseball by many lists published online including Minor League Ball’s John Sickels and for good reason.

I also really like the Nick Solak pick although some didn’t. Some thought he was simply signed and drafted because the Yankees could save money on their slot recommendation with him to give to Rutherford. While that is true that doesn’t mean Solak was an empty pick either by any means. Solak proved that in his pro debut in Staten Island posting a .321/.421/.421 with a 155 wRC+ and eight stolen bases, 30 walks and just 39 strikeouts. I also like the Dom Thompson-Williams pick because many experts had the outfielder going in the third round. The Yankees stole him in the fifth round and the Brett Gardner comparisons began almost immediately.

The one thing the Yankees needed more than anything though was pitching and they drafted a few key arms to look out for including closer/reliever Brooks Kriske. Kriske may be moved from closer to starter a la Chance Adams but either way his arm is strong and the talent is there. Taylor Widener is another arm I see a lot of potential in after reading up on him from his years at South Carolina. Widener finished the season with a 3-0 record, 0.47 ERA, 1.50 FIP and an insane 13.9 K/9 strikeout ratio in 38.1 innings in his professional debut. Widener, another reliever, will get his chance to showcase his 97 MPH fastball, slider and secondary pitches in the rotation once again a la Chance Adams in 2017 and could turn out to be a special arm for the Yankees in the future.

All this without mentioning High School pick Nolan Martinez. New York did well for themselves this draft and the final stat lines this season prove that. Now’s the hard part, development. 

Scoreboard Watching for September 28th

AL East Race:

Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles

AL Wild Card Race: 

Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians
Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros
Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals  vs. Minnesota Twins

National League Wild Card: 

New York Mets @ Miami Marlins
San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/28: Moose FINALLY Wins #20

Mike Mussina had pitched many stellar seasons both in Baltimore with the Orioles and in New York with the Yankees but never won 20 games in a single season, until this day in 2008. On the last day of the 2008 season Mussina would improve his record to 20-9 becoming the oldest player in major league history to win 20 games for the first time. It took Mussina 18 seasons to win 20 games when he threw six shutout innings against the Red Sox in Fenway Park in a Yankees 6-2 victory.

Also on this day in 2005 Alex Rodriguez broke the Yankees All-Time record for home runs in a single season by a right handed batter when he slugged his 47th home run of the season. DiMaggio hit 46 home runs in 1937 and Alex passed him as the Yankees beat the Orioles 2-1.

Also on this day in 1955 Elston Howard, in his first World Series at bat, hit a two run home run off the Dodgers right hander Don Newcombe. This marks the first time that a black batter hit a home run off a black pitcher in the history of the World Series.

Finally on this day in 1947 the Yankees held their first Old Timers Day on the final day of the season. General Manager Larry MacPhail came up with the idea along with public relations director Red Paterson as an idea to honor the ailing Yankees legend Babe Ruth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Yanks Launch Three Longballs, Lead to 6-4 Victory In Sox Series Opener

On A cloudy night in the Bronx, the Yankees bashed their way into a game one win against the rival Red Sox. Getting the start for New York was rookie right-hander Luis Sessa, who pitched very well but was saddled with a no decision as his bullpen let him down once again. Getting the call and the loss for Boston was ace David Price, falling to 17-9 while raising his ERA to 4.04 in an outing that saw him get hit early and often against a team that he has historically not had much success.

It didn't take long for the Yankees to jump on the ace Price, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. After a Brett Gardner led off the night with a strikeout. Jacoby Ellsbury laced a single into centerfield. The next batter Gary Sanchez crushed a first-pitch fastball from Price deep into the Red Sox bullpen in left-center for his 20th homer in just 51 games, tying an MLB record for quickest to 20 and giving New York a 2-0 lead. With the longball, Sanchez also became the 104th player this season to collect 20 or more homeruns, a new MLB record that bested the 103 mark set in 1999.

They put up their third run of the game on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Austin Romine and Tyler Austin started the frame with back-to-back singles, Jacoby Ellsbury lined a one-out single into right field that scored Romine to extend the Yankees lead to three.

The Red Sox responded with two runs in the top of the sixth, but it could've been a lot worse had it not been for Sessa's impressive escapability. Andrew Benintendi started the rally with an infield single that bounced in front of Sessa, advancing to second base on a throwing error by the rookie pitcher. The next batter Dustin Pedroia smacked a single to centerfield that scored Benintendi to put the Red Sox on the board at 3-1. After Xander Bogarts followed up with a line drive double to right, Sessa got the lifetime .307 hitter against the Yankees David Ortiz to strike out for out number one. Mookie Betts then followed up with a ground out to short, scoring Pedroia and pulling Boston to within one. But, Sessa got out of it by striking out last week's Yankee killer Hanley Ramirez to end the threat and the frame.

Didi Gregorius became the 105th player to hit 20 or more homeruns this season when he blasted HIS 20th shot of the year, a solo blast to right in the bottom of the sixth to push the Yankees back out by two.

Even though Sessa left the game for Tommy Layne in the seventh, all of his prior work was for not as the Sox came back to tie it against their old teammate Layne. Aaron Hill came on to pinch-hit for Brock Holt to lead off the inning and proceeded to launch a solo homerun to left field that made it a 4-3 ballgame. Jackie Bradley Jr. kept the offensive pressure on by driving a single to right, advancing to second on a bunt by Sandy Leon. Dustin Pedroia struck again, this time with a two-out single that beat the shift down the right field line to score Bradley Jr. and tie the game at four apiece. Blake Parker then came on in relief and proceeded to get Ortiz to ground out to short to prevent any further damage.

But the game didn't stay tied for long as the Yankees came back to retake the lead in the bottom of the inning, knocking Price out in the process. Romine led off the seventh with a single to right; scoring when the next batter Tyler Austin blasted his fourth longball of the season, an opposite-field two-run shot to right that put the Bombers back on top by a 6-4 score. After a Gardner single and an Ellsbury line out, Price was pulled for right-handed side-winding Brad Ziegler. The deadline acquisition from the Diamondbacks proceeded to get Gary Sanchez to ground out into an inning ending double-play.

With all the well-documented recent struggles of Delin Betances, the Yanks decided to send Tyler Clippard to close out the game in the ninth. After getting Leon to strike out to begin the frame, Benintendi laced a double down the right field line. Pedroia followed up with a walk, representing the tying run at first base with one out. But, Clippard tight-roped out of it by getting Bogarts to pop out to short and then got Ortiz to strike out to end the ballgame. The win guarantees that the Yankees will finish the season at at least .500 and prevented the Red Sox from celebrating a division championship in Yankee Stadium.

The Pinstripers will try to keep it rolling tomorrow night as they square off against Boston in game two of the three game set, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM/EST.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 9/27

Here we go ladies and gentleman, rivalry renewed once again and one last time this season. Tonight the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium play host to the retiring David Ortiz and his Boston Red Sox. Before we honor the long-time Red Sox DH and Yankees killer in the Bronx we have two more games that the team can play spoiler in so let’s see if the Baby Bombers are up to the task. In the game tonight the Yankees will send rookie starter Luis Cessa to the mound to square off against savvy veteran David Price for the Red Sox. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN2 and MLB TV.

It’s time to play spoiler. Go Yankees!

Also if you want to see David Ortiz’s final game in the Bronx click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog. Alright, Go Yankees for real this time. 

Expect Another Quiet Offseason for New York

Last offseason the New York Yankees did the least New York Yankees thing they could have done, they signed the same amount of Major League free agents as I’ve gotten hits in Major League Baseball. Zero. The Yankees were quiet although they did make trades for Aroldis Chapman and Starlin Castro and you know what? We, as fans, could be in for an equally as long and quiet offseason this winter as well.

The New York Yankees have plans of getting under the luxury tax threshold, and FYI it is expected to go up around or above $200 million when the new collective bargaining agreement is all said and done this winter, either this season or next leaving the possibility of signing many free agents unlikely. This is especially true when you consider that Ivan Nova, yes that Ivan Nova, may be the best starting pitcher available and is already asking for $70 million across a five-year deal.

Remember the 2013 Yankees that let like 672 home runs, exaggeration but only a slight one, go in the offseason only to replace them with Chris Stewart and Kevin Youkilis? Well we may be heading towards that route again except this time the Yankees youth will take center stage. With Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez finally coming off the books this may be the Yankees final chance to strike and get under the cap before super free agents like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper hit the open market, presumably.

As it stands right now the Yankees only have $95 million committed to players for the 2018 season and $57 million for the 2019 season not counting arbitration eligible players so this time around the possibility of getting under the cap is a real one. It’s only a real one though if the team stays off the free agent board, and I think that they will. Unfortunately. 

REMINDER: Two Days Left Until We Moon Big Papi

This is not a joke, nor is this a drill. There is an organization out there trying to get as many people as possible to moon Big Papi during his final game inside Yankee Stadium. What are they going to do? Kick out and lock up 40,000 people for showing their butt to a baseball player? I would hope not anyway.

Head over to and check out what they have planned. If you’re going to the stadium Thursday night at least consider it, there is no bigger sign of respect for a player that killed the team we love for so many years than to show him our butt’s while he rides off into the sunset.

This is just a reminder. T-minus two days until we moon Big Papi. Be there!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 9/27

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox begin their final series of the 2016 season tonight marking the final three times that David Ortiz will step foot inside Yankee Stadium. One word comes to mind when I think about Oritz’s final game inside Yankee Stadium. No not the word “ceremony” or “retirement” but instead “hallelujah” comes to mind. This guy has killed the Yankees in his career, hasn’t he? Let me answer that for you, he has, and the ultimate sign of respect will be millions of Yankees fans holding the door for him and pushing him through it to retirement. That’s the Thursday night game though, we have to worry about tonight first so we’ll do just that right here with this preview. In the start tonight the Yankees will send Luis Cessa to the mound to face off with Mr. David Price, a familiar foe for these Yankees over the years.

Cessa has been a lot more prone to the home run ball lately than the Yankees would like but they can’t really ask any more from the young right-hander than they’ve already gotten this season. Cessa has pitched especially well since moving into the team’s starting rotation and has pitched well enough for the Yankees to win every start he’s made if he had a little help from the offense. What more could you ask for?

Price is starting to hit his second half groove but it hasn’t come against the Yankees this season. Price has gone at least seven innings in four of his past five starts including his last start against the Baltimore Orioles to push his season total up to 218.2 innings pitched. Fatigue tonight in the Bronx? I sure hope so.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium, welcome home Yankees, and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN 2 and MLB TV. It all comes down to this Yankees family. Three games with the Boston Red Sox, a David Ortiz goodbye ceremony and three games with the Baltimore Orioles before the Yankees are all golfing for the winter. Well, these are the baby bombers after all so maybe it will be a long winter of playing video games instead. Either way the season is winding down and part of me is glad. The 162 game grind is exhausting, especially with the ups and downs with this team this season, and it takes its toll even on the people who blog about and cover the team. The players have to be exhausted too but that’s no excuse. It’s still Go Yankees!

Even if the Playoffs Don’t Come

Even if the playoffs don’t come to the New York Yankees in 2016 I still have two words for this team and this organization, thank you. The New York Yankees came into the 2016 season with expectations at an all-time low. The team hadn’t signed a single MLB free agent that offseason, although they did acquire Starlin Castro and Aroldis Chapman in trades, and big time prospects like Greg Bird were injured to start the season. The Yankees had the deck stacked against them and after a 9-17 start they already had some throwing dirt on their graves before the team rose from the ashes.

This team clawed their way back to the .500 mark and while they struggled to get above it they hovered around it until the All-Star break and subsequently the August 1st trading deadline. New York decided to fully commit to the rebuild and the youth movement and the team traded away their best hitter, their two best pitchers and a key piece to their rotation all for prospects. Once again dirt was being flung around and over the graves of the Yankees and once again the team came back stronger than ever from those same ashes.

This team went on a run thanks to the youth that at one time were discarded by some fans and youth that just flat out exceeded expectations. The back-to-back home runs in their first MLB at-bats by Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin. Gary Sanchez hitting a home run every 45 minutes for a solid week or more. The clutch hitting by Didi Gregorius and the clutch pitching by Masahiro Tanaka. The saves lodged by Dellin Betances and the work put in by Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren after coming home. All of it was special in its own little way.

The emergence of Chad Green and then the emergence of Luis Cessa as starting pitchers. The return of Bryan Mitchell. The retirement of Alex Rodriguez. The eventual retirement of Mark Teixeira. The return of dominant CC. Wow, what a season.

We may not have ended up where we all wanted to be but the experience, the team building and the fun we had on this roller coaster ride of a season you can’t merely put into words. So I won’t try, all I’ll say once again is thank you for a fantastic 2016 Yankees family.

Scoreboard Watching for September 27th

September 27, 2016. Good morning Yankees family and good morning baseball fans everywhere. The playoffs are a week away and we have some scoreboard watching to do tonight. Let’s get to it.

AL East Race:

Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles

AL Wild Card Race: 

Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians
Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros
Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals  vs. Minnesota Twins

National League Wild Card: 

New York Mets @ Miami Marlins
San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Chicago Cubs

Unfortunately pretty soon it looks like the Yankees will be mathematically eliminated and will drop off the list. Oh well, still a great season. More on that later.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/27: 4 Million Fans

The New York Yankees continued to sell tickets and smash records in the 2000’s and on this day in 2006 the stadium in the Bronx saw its 4,000,000th fan enter the ballpark. This marked the second consecutive season that New York surpassed 4,000,000 fans in one season. The Yankees and the 1991-1993 Toronto Blue Jays are the only teams in major league history with 4,000,000 plus fans in more than one season.

Also on this day in 1998 the Yankees won their seventh straight game to end the 1998 season 114-48. The Yankees .704 winning percentage marked the first time a team finished a season with over a .700 winning percentage since the 1954 Indians who went 111-43.

Finally on this day in 1938 we finish on a somber note as Lou Gehrig would hit his 493rd and final home run of his career. Gehrig’s home run came off Dutch Leonard of the Washington Senators. It is also worth mentioning that one this day 15 years earlier Gehrig hit his first home run of his major league career off the Red Sox Bill Piercy.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Multiple Yankee Ejections Fire Up Team, Lead to 7-5 Comeback Win Over Blue Jays

In one of the wildest games of the entire 2016 season, the Yankees pulled out a win in the final game of the four-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. Luis Severino got the call for the Yankees tonight in a spot-start for Masahiro Tanaka, but The fiery rookie would get ejected after plunking multiple bluejays in just two innings of work. The winningest pictcher for the Blue Jays, J.A. Happ got the start against the Yankees; but fell victim to a shotty performance by his bullpen that prevented him from winning a Toronto record high 21st game of the season.

The Yankees were quick to jump on the 20-game winner, scoring on Happ in the top of the first inning. Brett Gardner led off the game with an infield single, advancing to third on a two-base throwing error by catcher Russell Martin where he launched his throw to first base over the head of Edwin Encarnacion. Two batters later, Gary Sanchez drove in the 39th run of his young career by grounding out to short to give the Yankees a first inning one run lead.

The Jays didn't take Long to get that run back, tying the game as they forced the wild Severino to throw 33 pitches in the bottom of the first. The first inning was a rough one for Severino, not really having any control of the strike zone and inadvertently drilling Josh Donaldson in the elbow for Toronto's first base runner of the game. After an Encarnacion single moved Donaldson to third, Jose Bautista walked to load the bases with one out. The next batter Russell Martin also worked a walk, forcing in the Jays' first run of the game to tie it at one apiece.

Although Severino got out of the first, that Donaldson HBP would loom large in the top of the second. Happ took exception to his third baseman getting plunked and in turn drilled Yankees third baseman Chase Headley to begin the frame. As the Homeplate umpire gave warnings to both sides, Yankee players and coaching staff took exception to the situation, which led to the first of several on-field delays. After Gregorius grounded out to end the frame, manager Joe Girardi was ejected from the game still visibly upset over the beanball wars and was sent to the clubhouse, leaving Coach Rob Thompson to take over the game.

Girardi wasn't the only person to take exception, as Severino drilled first baseman Justin Smoak to begin the bottom of the second. Smoak charged the mound towards a barking Severino, as both benches cleared and multiple ejections would be handed out. Severino, pitching coach Larry Rothchild and acting manager Rob Thompson were all ejected from the game, leaving third-base coach Joe Espada to take over the Yankees managerial duties. If nothing else, the play showed that young Severino had his teammate's backs.

After order resumed, the Jays capitalized on tapping into the Yankees bullpen so early, taking the lead in the bottom of the third. Jose Bautista started the rally when he ripped a one out single off Yankee reliever Jonathan holder, advancing to second on a Russell Martin walk. The next batter Troy Tulowitzki ripped a double into the left center field gap, advancing Martin to third and scoring Bautista to give the Birds a one run lead. Holder was then lifted for left-handed reliever James Pazos, who immediately served up a single to Michael Saunders that scored Martin and extended Toronto's lead to 3-1.

It took then until the eighth, but the Yankees got one of those runs back as they chased Happ from the game. With one out, Brett Gardner roped a double into right, scoring when the next batter Jacoby Ellsbury ripped a single into center to close the gap to 3-2. After the RBI knocked Happ out of the game, left-hander Brett Cecil got pinch-hitter Brian McCann to ground out to short to end the frame and prevent any further damage.

 Because the Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna had the night off, Jason Grilli came on to pitch the ninth and opened the door on the Yankees late-inning comeback. With one out, Mark Teixeira absolutely  obliterated a Grilli fastball into the second deck in right-center, tying the game at three apiece. After a Gregorius opposite field single, Aaron Hicks unloaded on a Grilli breaking ball into the seats in right field to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. After a Donovan Solano double kept the Yankee rally alive, Grilli was pulled for righty Danny Barnes. Barnes immediately walked Brett Gardner and then allowed Solano to score on a Jacoby Ellsbury single to right, 6-3 New York. And then Gary Sanchez capped off the rally by smacking a fly ball into centerfield for sacrifice fly, scoring Gardner to push their lead out to four.

The struggles for Delin Betances continued on this nightmarish road trip as he let the Jays back in the game in the bottom of the ninth. Betances missed badly on four straight pitches to leadoff hitter Justin Smoak, Who advanced to second when the next batter Kevin Pillar reached on a throwing error by (who else)Betances. After a VERY wild pitch advanced both runners up a base, Betances walked Darwin Barney to load the bases with no one out for Josh Donaldson. And even though there was only a lefty up in the bullpen, Espada went to that lefty Tommy Layne.  The mid-season supposed left-handed specialist got Donaldson to hit a short pop up, leaving the bases loaded with now one out. He followed up the pop out by walking Encarnacion to force in Smoak from third to make it a three run game. Layne then served up a soft fly ball to "no man's land" by Russell Martin for a single, scoring Pillar and pulling the Jays back to within two. But two sparkling plays, first by Layne to record out number two at home plate and the second a diving catch to end the game by Gardner, put the Yankees back in the win column to close out the roughest road trip of the season.

The Bombers head home for their final games of the season, starting tomorrow at 7:05 PM/EST when they host the retiring David Ortiz and the Red Sox for a three-game set.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 9/26

Here we go ladies and gentleman as the New York Yankees prepare for their final road game of the season unless they can somehow pull off a miracle and make the postseason. Let's do it. In the road finale for New York the Yankees will make the trip to the Rogers Centre to face off with their AL East foes the Toronto Blue Jays. In the game the Yankees will send -- to the mound replacing Masahiro Tanaka who is battling with a slight strain in his forearm while the Blue Jays will send JA Happ to the mound looking for his 21st win of the season. The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside Rogers Centre and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

Seven games left this season including this one. Let's win them all. Go Yankees!

ICYMI: I Couldn't Have Been More Wrong About JA Happ

I wrote THIS article on December 2, 2015 for a few reasons. At the beginning of December the news around Major League Baseball is slow. Also it's the best time to be optimistic because basically all of free agency is ahead of you and every team is technically in first place. When the Toronto Blue Jays signed Jesse Chavez I wasn't exactly scared or worried. When they signed JA Happ I only feared for the left-handed hitters on the team, Happ has made it a habit of hitting and injuring left-handed Yankees hitters in recent years, and boy I could not have been more wrong about Happ. 20-wins later and possibly two more starts to go including tonight's star against New York it's time for me to eat crow on the issue publicly.

Here is the article that was originally posted on December 2nd in it's entirety: 

It's the offseason and I don't know if everyone is just turkey drunk, the Black Friday deals are just that good or if the fact that the market is so deep that teams are taking their time but times are slow right now. With the extra time on my hands I have turned my attention to not only the New York Yankees but the other four teams inside the American League East, especially the Toronto Blue Jays. Earlier this offseason I took a look at the fact that Jesse Chavez, a recent acquisition for the Mark Shapiro led Blue Jays franchise, was not David Price but left the door open for a return to Toronto for the lefty. That door is probably officially closed now after the team also signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three year deal and no, he isn't David Price either.

Price was absolute money for the Blue Jays down the stretch posting a 9-1 record in 11 starts with a 2.30 ERA and 1.009 WHIP. Price faced the Yankees four times as a member of the Blue Jays and beat them three times including twice in the middle of their pennant race in September. Without Price that division tells an entirely different story, is Happ enough to replace that production and almost a 6.0 WAR in 2016?

Well Happ only threw to a 3.0 WAR and was less than stellar the last time he pitched in the American League. Happ is no stranger to the American League, the AL East or the Blue Jays as this is his second stint with the club. Remember, Happ was the one that hit Curtis Granderson (the second time) to break his wrist in his final season in New York on his way to posting a 19-20 record with a 4.39 ERA in three seasons. Happ in a National League pitcher at this point in his career.

Happ owns a career .469 winning percentage(four season) in the AL and a .527 percentage (seven seasons) in the NL. If that were not enough then surely his better ERA+, WHIP, WAR, K and his overall numbers across the board are better in the National League. Happ is not the pitcher he was in Pittsburgh for half a season last year and he's not going to be enough to replace David Price. Toronto isn't necessarily in trouble yet but over the course of a 162 game season the Blue Jays aren't running away with this division either, even with Marcus Stroman.

Most Popular Article of the Week: It's My Turn To Judge The Situation

By Bryan Van Dusen seen HERE: 

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, I really am writing again. I can't tell you for sure why I've been gone for so long, all I can say is that this team has not inspired me at all. And to be honest, I don't know when I'll write again. Perhaps not until some news and/or rumors start pouring in during the offseason (Jose Fernandez? Hmm....).
"Nice foreshadowing, bro."

It's great watching young players like Gary Sanchez play regularly, seeing Didi Gregorius look like a long-term solution at shortstop, and rooting for Starlin Castro to finally "get it". However, I've also watched every non-Tanaka pitcher disappoint me day after day. Hell, after a busy few days I finally got to watch the Yankees last Thursday night, only to go to sleep feeling ill after Hanley Ramirez won the game with a three-run bomb off of Dellin Betances.

Yankees pitching isn't the only area that's disappointed me lately, though. I've been all about Aaron Judge, and had him penciled into the Yankees 2018 lineup that could make a strong push for the World Series title. But a batting line of .179/.263/.345 in 27 games with the Yankees this season has left me a bit disillusioned.

Now, I understand it's just 27 games, and plenty of hitters have a hard time early in their MLB careers. But Judge struck out in exactly half of his at bats (42 Ks in 84 ABs). And at 6'7" tall, there are plenty of holes in his swing for MLB caliber pitchers to exploit. In summary, it wouldn't surprise me if he never reaches his ceiling... metaphorically, of course.

So where does that leave things? Well, if you read Daniel's article on Sunday about the possibility of the team dealing away Jorge Mateo this offseason, you'll know where this is going.

As hard as it may be, let's forget Aaron's poor debut and look at the team's outfield situation.

Brett Gardner
Brett is signed through the 2018 season, and looks to be firmly entrenched into the regular lineup. At one point he looked like a great trade piece, but after a below average season with dwindling stolen base totals, I'm not sure another team would truly be interested in acquiring the guy.

Jacoby Ellsbury
I think Ellsbury will be a Yankee through 2020... the end of his contract. Unless he's somehow able to hit 20+ home runs a season, the guy is pretty much done. His value was all in his legs, leading to very good defense and a nice stolen base total, and both of those things have declined.

Clint Frazier
We probably won't see Frazier in the Majors until late next season, and more likely sometime in 2018, as he has some work to do in AAA before being truly ready for the Show. But it's only a matter of time until he's pounding on the Yankees' door to be called up.

"Which one's mine, dude?"

Blake Rutherford
He's just 19 years old, so there's a ways to go before he'll possibly wear Yankees' pinstripes. But there's plenty of reason to think he could be a key player for the Yankees by 2020. Hell, reports that some scouts liken Rutherford to a more athletic version of David Justice. Not bad.

Dustin Fowler
While his ETA is probably sometime in 2018, Dustin has turned a few heads at AA Trenton. His 12 home runs, to go along with 25 SB, has some people believing he could evolve into a 20-20 player in MLB.

Mason Williams
Not long ago Williams was seen as one of the Yankees' better prospects. Unfortunately, that shine wore off after lackluster 2013 and 2014 seasons. But Mason has been able to turn things around putting together a stellar 2015 season, and followed that up with a nice 2016 that saw him finally make it to the show.

Billy McKinney
McKinney followed up an incredible 2015 at the plate with a not-so-great 2016. At least part of that is due to suffering a hairline fracture to his kneecap last August, but the fact remains that Billy has some areas to improve (mainly on defense) to truly make a push for the big leagues.

Tyler Austin
The "Tyler Austin" we've seen in 2016 is not the same "Tyler Austin" we saw in 2015. Just compare his '15 batting line of .240/.315/.343 between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to his '16 line of .294/.392/.524 between those same two teams this season. Oh, and let's not dwell on what he's done in just 23 games with New York. Besides, if Greg Bird can come back as the regular 1B, Austin will need a spot and the OF could be it.

Rob Refsnyder
If the Yankees ever decided to give this guy some regular player time perhaps he'd have a future with the team, but for the time being Refsnyder looks to be a bench filler for the team. But he's not totally out of the picture yet, so when talking about possibly outfielders you have to bring up Robbie here.

Aaron Hicks
While Aaron is a 4th outfielder at best, the fact remains that he can fill-in when needed in the outfield, So he must be included when talking about the outfield depth that the Yankees currently have or could have soon.

Wow! That's ten guys that could are already MLB regulars, or could be MLB regulars very soon. And the Yankees have only three spots to fit them into on their lineup cards. And no, the DH spot will likely have the name "Brian McCann" or "Gary Sanchez" filling it for the next two years.

And that list of ten players did not include Aaron Judge. So make it 11 guys for three spots through 2018. Add a logjam like that in the outfield along with the need for starting pitching, and I think you have the makings of a blockbuster deal.

Say... Jorge Mateo and Aaron Judge leading a package of players for Jose Fernandez?

Think about it... Giancarlo Stanton's salary will jump from $9 million in 2016 to $14.5 million next season. Then, once 2018 hits, Giancarlo's salary will reach $25 million a year or higher for the next ten years. You don't think Miami would like to unload that gigantic contract, and get a hitter that could take his spot in the lineup?

"Sure, I may be made of money, but I'm not going to spend it."

While I agree that thanks to Gleyber Torres we could see Mateo dealt away this offseason, I think the chances of the Yankees dealing away Aaron Judge are just as good.