Thursday, May 19, 2016

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/19

If a game is played in the middle of the state of California in the middle of the night on the East Coast did it really happen? We’re about to find out as the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics kick off their four-game extended weekend set tonight inside of Oakland County Coliseum. In the matchup the Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound making his third start of the season for New York while the A’s will counter with right-hander Kendall Graveman. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees need to beat the teams, in my mind anyway, that they should beat and the Oakland Athletics are one of those teams. I mean no disrespect and I fully understand that there is a level of parity in Major League Baseball that allows any team to beat any other team on any given night but across a long series, and four games would be long enough you would think, the better team should win more times than not. The records might not suggest it and the standings may not suggest it but the Yankees are the better and the more talented team. They just need to believe it themselves and start acting like it.

Go Yankees!

While We Wait Link Dump for May 19th from the BYB Hub

There is only one thing, ONE THING, that’s good about having the New York Yankees play out on the West Coast. I tend to get a lot more things done with my extra three or four hours of my day. I am an early riser and I usually run all day long so staying up until 1:00 AM or 2:00 AM ET just to wake up at 5:00 AM to watch the Yankees is not my cup of tea but like I said I use these games as a way to catch up on things. I’m hoping you will do the same here tonight as I had this novel idea, why not do a link dump here giving you a chance to catch up on some reading while you wait for the Yankees game to begin or you start winding down before bed.

I’ve done this before showcasing Yankees-related material from major news publications like, the USA Today and the New York Daily News but those guys get enough clicks anyway. When they aren’t getting enough clicks they come up with click baits like “Yankees frontrunners for Mike Trout” so I thought I would bring you some articles from true fans, websites that need some love and members of the BYB Hub. So enjoy and check out the BYB Hub at 

How Badly Do the Yankees Want Bryce Harper?

It’s a simple question, how badly do the New York Yankees want Bryce Harper when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season. In life it seems like the most simplest of questions turn out to be the hardest to answer for whatever reason and this one definitely falls into that category. This is so hard to answer mainly because we still have parts of three MLB seasons to go before the question really needs to be answered and a whole lot can happen between now and then but let’s pretend the Nationals All-Star is set to become a free agent now, today, how badly do the Yankees want him and how far would they be willing to go?

I’m not talking about money here ladies and gentleman because let’s face it. The Yankees have the money and the Yankees aren’t afraid to spend the money if it means making the money. Bryce Harper is a draw to any stadium whether you want to boo him or you want to cheer him and the Yankees could give him a billion dollar contract and he’d probably double their investment in the first five years. He’s that special. It’s the other aspects of the organization that make the Yankees unique, borderline archaic but unique nonetheless, that I am discussing here.

Would the Yankees relax on their “no facial hair policy” for Harper and would they change their uniform policy to allow Harper to leave his top button or three undone as long as he mashes home runs and tracks down everything that is hit his way in center field? You have to think they would, no?

I mean I get it and I appreciate the fact that this is a storied franchise with an absolute ton of history behind it but you also have to keep us with the Joneses. At one point the team had to stop throwing money at every free agent while sacrificing the farm system year in and year out. At one point they couldn’t make up for their losses in the draft by simply throwing money at international market and at some point they had to stop letting all their big money free agents hit the free agent market because the team refuses to negotiate a contract while the current contract was up.

If Harper wants to wear a beard let the man wear a beard. If the man wants to leave a button or two undone and look like a complete slob you let the boy look like a complete slob. That’s how bad I want Bryce Harper on the Yankees but the question is how bad do the Yankees want Bryce Harper? We have three years to talk about it. 

Did the Yankees Screw up Trading Francisco Cervelli?

The New York Yankees and their GM Brian Cashman has grown to be known for their wheeling and dealing in recent years more so than their big money free agent signings. The tides may be turning in the Bronx and the Yankees GM is at the forefront of this change. Whether Cashman is a second tiered GM or even worth the breath you would waste to boo him if you saw him on the street is up for debate but I think we now have the answer to at least one question. Did the Yankees screw up when they traded away catcher Francisco Cervelli? In a word, yes.

Now one must keep in mind that Cervelli was traded on the heels of consecutive injury-riddled seasons and was also shipped away after a Biogenesis-related scandal and steroid suspension as well. There was all the drama and rumors circulating that Alex Rodriguez gave up names to investigators and the league including Cervelli’s and it was bad Ju Ju all around in the Yankees dugout. On paper that alone makes for a good trade for New York, especially when you consider they flipped him for durable reliever Justin Wilson before last season, but everything since has gone terribly wrong for the Yankees.

New York has since flipped Wilson for a pair of starting pitchers in Luis Cessa and Chad Green and neither have looked good in their ridiculously small MLB sample size. I won’t hold that against Cashman because we have a long way to go before determining who “won” that trade but after Cervelli signed a contract extension with Pittsburgh this week you have to think the trade to Pittsburgh was a loss for Cashman and company. Cervelli signed a three-year extension with Pittsburgh recently worth $31.5 million keeping the right-handed hitting catcher in Pittsburgh through his age 33 season.

Cervelli served as McCann’s backup in 2014 and since the 2015 season when Cervelli was shipped to Pittsburgh he has out-performed McCann in almost every aspect. Cerveli hits for a higher average, he actually frames balls better than McCann, Cervelli gets on base more often, his defense is better and so is his base running. McCann hits #TooManyDamnHrs but his WAR during that timeframe has been 3.8 while Cervelli has accumulated a 4.5 WAR in the same period.

So for less WAR the Yankees are paying McCann $16.40 million per year AAV while the Pirates will pay Cervelli roughly $10 million for a younger bat, better defense and a higher WAR. Sounds like the proof is in the pudding on this one Yankees family.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/19

The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics will begin a four-game weekend series tonight inside the Oakland County Coliseum with the Bronx Bombers hoping for some better results than the last time these two teams met. Earlier this season the Athletics came to the Bronx and watched as the Yankees crapped the bed in their three-game set leaving many fans disappointed and hoping for different results tonight on the west coast. In the contest the Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound looking to keep his starting rotation spot when Luis Severino returns from the disabled list while the A’s will counter with Kendall Graveman.

Nova will be making his third start of the season tonight in Oakland after making his previous two starts against tough Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox offenses. Nova has pitched to a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 innings during those two starts and looks to improve on a career 1-0 record and 4.24 ERA in three starts against the A’s tonight.

Graveman has not pitched well as of late for Oakland and has allowed at least four runs in each of his last four starts. In the span of two outings Graveman has given up five home runs which could be just what the doctor ordered for the team commonly referred to as the Bronx Bombers.

The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET inside the Oakland County Coliseum and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. If you’ve been paying attention to the weekly USA Today’s MLB power rankings you would know that the A’s are slipping, falling and we can’t let them get up. Beat the A’s and turn this ship around again after a tough series loss in Arizona. If the team can’t turn things around and wets the bed again here against the A’s the season may be over. I’m not ready to watch August and September meaningless baseball, I don’t know about you, so Go Yankees!

The Return of Alex Rodriguez and What It Means

There’s a stomach bug going around and it’s causing injuries all over the Yankees roster and minor league affiliates. The New York Yankees avoided the injury bug for the most part in 2015 but when you have an aging core mixed with young players that play all out on every play like Brett Gardner injuries tend to happen and they have here in 2016. With CC Sabathia set to come off the disabled list tomorrow, and we’ll talk more about that tomorrow as well, and Alex Rodriguez eligible to come off the disabled list today what does it mean for the Yankees? FYI, in case you missed it, the Yankees will not actually activate Alex today after his hamstring tightened up jogging in Arizona but when he does come back this is how it will affect the team.

Unfortunately no one can truly answer this question, not even Alex himself, leaving us all to speculate. Alex looked all of 40-years old at the beginning of the season and already had many questioning whether he would make the season and/or attempt another run in 2017. Just in time for his injury though Alex’s bat woke up as he began hitting and began hitting for power so after two weeks off who knows which Alex we’re about to get. Will it be the Alex that can intimidate the opposing pitcher and add some much needed pop to the middle of the lineup or is it the Alex that is being pointed at and laughed at by Father Time?

I do know one thing for sure the Yankees will get worse defensively and worse on the flexibility side of the coin with Alex’s return. Alex is a DH only and Joe Girardi now has to take Carlos Beltran out of the lineup entirely or one of Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Gardner to give Aaron Hicks ample playing time. Robert Refsnyder or whoever else is likely to ride the Scranton Shuttle back to Triple-A when Alex is officially activated and it’s debatable whether the team is actually set to get better, continue to tread water or possibly even take a step back.

Personally if Alex can be the Alex he was a week or so before the injury he makes this team 100% better but if he becomes another black hole in a lineup that seems to be alternating black holes like advanced copies of movies on the internet then that’s not beneficial for anybody. Stay tuned to see what Alex we get back hopefully this week or next when Alex finally returns off the DL.  

Weekly Check In: Aaron Judge

With the return of Alex Rodriguez, more on that later this morning, the opportunity to call up Aaron Judge has seemingly passed for now. I frequently would check my major news sites every morning hoping to read that Judge was called up, not that I am not ecstatic about seeing Gary Sanchez and Robert Refsnyder get called up this season, but to no avail. Yet.

The Judge will come up this season. It may be tomorrow, it may be next month or it may be in September but I truly think we see Judge this season. He has a ton of people in front of him on the 40 man roster and on the depth chart but they are just warm bodies when being compared in terms of talent to Judge.

So keep your eye on the Judge because he’s coming and he’s going to wreak havoc over the league very, very soon.


Nasty Nate Dominates, Leads Yanks to 4-2 Victory

     The New York Yankees bats came to life tonight as they attempted to avoid being swept at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks in The third and final game of the series. Taking the ball for the Yanks was one of, if not the best starter for New York, Nathan Eovaldi. Nasty Nate came into tonight with a 3-2 record and a 4.85 ERA, and notably a 2-0 record in Chase Field. The struggling Shelby Miller took the ball for Arizona, sporting a disappointing 1-4 record and an ugly 6.94 ERA. The Diamondbacks spent quite a bit to get Miller this past off-season, sending four players to the Atlanta Braves for the right-hander, including number one overall draft pick Dansby Swanson and right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Blair, who pitched in Atlanta's series against the Pirates this week. Another phenomenal outing by Eovaldi and a myriad of Yankee baserunners made for a winning recipe tonight in Phoenix.
      Millers struggles were evident as early as the first at bat of the game, walking Jacoby Elsbury to lead of the night. Then, Miller gave up his ninth homerun of the season, a 418 foot blast off the bat of Brett Gardner, pushing the Yankees ahead by two. Arizona would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the first, when Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to third base, scoring the red hot Jean Segura, who had doubled off of the second base bag to lead off the inning. from third. 2-1 New York.
     Shelby Millers struggles would continue, this time coming in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, Miller served up a single to Chase Headley, who was bunted to second base by pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. With one out and a pitch count of 101, Elsbury reached base for the third time, lining a single into left-center that scored Headley, giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead and chasing Miller from the ball game. The right-hander allowed baserunners in every inning of the game and left with a final line of 5.2 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 2 BB and 5 K's.
     Eovaldi, on the other hand, cruised tonight against Arizona, retiring 18 consecutive batters after allowing the leadoff double to Segura. In fact, if that ball hadn't have this second base bag, Eovaldi would have been tossing a perfect game into the seventh. When instead, Nate gave way to "No-Run DMC" and leaving with a final line of 84 pitches in six innings of work, with one hit and one earned run while striking out five.
     Girardi's decision to lift Eovaldi while he was pitching exceptionally well would be justifiably questioned at the end of the night. Delin Betances walked the first two batters he faced before escaping the frame unscored upon. Andrew Miller followed with an equally shaky appearance, allowing Arizona's second hit of the night, a solo homerun by centerfielder Chris Owings, pulling the Diamondbacks within one, 3-2 Yanks, but, Chapman would close the door on the night, pitching a perfect inning and salvaging game three of a disappointing series.
     Look for the Yankees to continue their hot hitting as they embark on a four game set in Oakland, with first pitch at 10:05 PM EST.

This Day in New York Yankees History 5/19: Orioles and Yankees Brawl over Crack Jack’s?

On this day in 2004 the Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo announced that Cracker Jack, baseball's most famous snack for over 100 years, will not be sold at Yankee Stadium anymore. Instead the Yankees will sell Crunch 'n Munch, a change that the Yankee Stadium fans rejected, because it "tastes better." Long story short that didn't last long and you shouldn't mess with baseball history, especially Cracker Jacks.

Also on this day in 1998 the Orioles Armando Benitez nails the Yankees Tino Martinez between the shoulder blades with a pitch and starts a brawl between the two clubs. This came after Benitez gave up a three run home run to Bernie Williams in that eight inning. Graeme Lloyd raced onto the field from the Yankees bullpen and punched Benitez in the face and Alan Mills bloodied Darryl Strawberry's face after he ended up in the Baltimore dugout going after Benitez.

Finally on this day in 1929 a 17 year old college sophomore and a 60 year old truck driver are trampled to death with another 75 fans injured when a violent storm causes the overcapacity bleacher crowd to run for cover at Yankee Stadium. The stampede happened in "Ruthville" and the game would be called with the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox 3-0 at the end of four and a half innings, an official game.