Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Jays Blowout Yanks, 7-0 , Complete Series Sweep

     Tonight, as the Yankees tried to avoid being swept by the Blue Jays in Toronto, we were treated to a pitcher's duel that featured two vastly different but equally effective approaches to getting batters out. For New York, Masahiro Tanaka(3-0, 2.89 ERA) makes his living with his splitter and 2-seam fastball, forcing batters to drive the ball into the ground and rarely ever eclipsing 92 mph on the radar gun. Where as the Toronto right hander Aaron Sanchez(4-1, 3.29 ERA) has power stuff, hovering between 95-97 mph with his fastball and fooling hitters with his outstanding curveball.  The Toronto Blue Jays starting staff leads all of baseball in innings pitched and would get another quality outing from their starter tonight as they swept the Yankees.
     Although the game was scoreless through the first four innings, both starters worked in and out of trouble all night long. The Yankees had runners in scoring position in four consecutive innings, unable to come up with the big hit in any of the four frames. Similarly, the Blue Jays also had multiple opportunities to put a dent in the scoreboard and couldn't. In fact, both pitchers eclipsed the 70-pitch mark by the beginning of the fifth inning. And it was in the bottom of the fifth that we saw the first run of the ballgame. Tanaka allowed a leadoff single to shortstop Darwin Barney, who scored on a line drive base hit to right field by the reigning MVP Josh Donaldson, 1-0 Toronto.
     Tanaka found hinself in even more trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning. After allowing a leadoff double to Michael Saunders, Tanaka served up a line drive to centerfield off the bat of Justin Smoak where it was misplayed by Jacoby Ellsbury, allowing Saunders to advance to third and Smoak to first. The Blue Jays would record their second run of the game when Russell Martin grounded into a double play that scored Saunders. Tanaka would escape the inning without any further damage, however, his night was finished due to the elevated 105 pitch count. Yet another fruitless quality start, he left with a final line of six innings pitched, allowing two runs on seven hits, with one walk and two strikeouts.
     As for Aaron Samchez, he pitched extremely well and was pulled in the top of the seventh inning with two outs. Sanchez's final line was an impressive 6.2 innings of shut out ball, allowing seven hits while striking out six. He was lifted for the Blue Jays new acquisition Jason Grilli, who got out of the inning by getting Carlos Beltran to line out to centerfield.
     For the second straight night, the Yankee bullpen just did not have it. After loading the bases, Kirby Yates served up a single to Edwin Encarnacion that scored two, 4-0. Yates would be lifted for Nick Goody who promptly gave up yet another double to Michael Saunders, scoring Donaldson and advancing Encarnacion to these, 5-0 Jays. And then Justin Smoak plated both runners when he ripped a single to right,7-0, putting the game out of reach for the inept Yankee offense, an offense that ranks dead last in slugging percentage and third worst in batting average with runners in scoring position. Toronto has truly been the Yankees Achilles' heel this season, going 7-2 against New York so far this year.
     Here's to hoping they can somehow make a major turn around when they take on the Tigers in a rainout makeup game in Detroit, with first pitch scheduled for 7:40 PM ET.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 6/1

What a way to kick off the month of June. We remembered Derek Jeter for all his greatness, we called for the job of the Yankees hitting coach and now we bring you tonight’s game thread for the finale between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. And people still ask me if baseball and blogging isn’t boring. Of course it isn’t, there is always something going on including the pitching matchup for tonight that includes Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees and Aaron Sanchez for the Blue Jays. The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees travel to Detroit after this game for a big weekend set with the Tigers but the Yankees return home to the Bronx, HOPE Week and Old Timers Day are all just around the corner. As the thermometer heats up so do the Yankees and the events at Yankee Stadium and if you want to see any of them live click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to visit our friends at Ticket Monster. There you can snag a pair of seats without being weighed down by bulky fees or annoying shipping costs like those other guys. Until then follow along on twitter and interact with us by giving @GreedyStripes a follow, we’re always around and we always try to get our readers and fellow Yankees fans involved in any way that we can.

Tanaka is ready to throw some splitters and Jose Bautista is ready for his Golden Sombrero so let’s get to it inside the Rogers Centre. Go Yankees!

Remembering Derek Jeter on the Day he was Drafted

As we learned this morning in our “This Day in Yankees History” post that we showcase daily here on the blog it was this day back in 1992 that the New York Yankees made a decision that would forever form and shape this organization for the better. *in my best Bud Selig voice* It was on this day in 1992 that the New York Yankees, with the 6th pick in the MLB Draft, selected Derek Jeter out of Kalamazoo Central High School in Detroit, Michigan.

Derek Jeter is not going to college, he’s going to Cooperstown. Boy was he right. 

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

My apologies in advance if you’re a fan of these posts but with my buddy coming in from the Navy and the whole Memorial Day holiday I am a day or two behind on my news and blog posts. Have no fear though as we are getting caught back up today with another weekly edition of the USA Today’s MLB Power Rankings. The Yankees had another good week, although it’s getting to the point where the team needs great weeks to get back into this thing, and it showed in the rankings.

Another team that had a good week this week was the San Francisco Giants who were the week’s biggest risers as they jumped eight spots in the rankings all the way to the #2 position. The Washington Nationals had held the #2 position for basically the entire season but they had to know it was an even year meaning the Giants would be in the thick of things when the season was all said and done. With every rise you must have a fall and the Chicago White Sox roller coaster season continued this week with the team dropping from the #3 slot all the way to the #13 spot. In case you didn’t bring a calculator or lost a finger in Vietnam that is a 10 spot drop for the Chi Sox.

With all the shakeups in the Top 5 the new Top 5 list is the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants, the Boston Red Sox, the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets. The five teams you don’t want to be on this list, also known as the five lowest teams in the rankings, are the Oakland Athletics, the San Diego Padres, the Minnesota Twins, the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves.

The Yankees? The Yankees rose three spots all the way to the #19 position. It’s not where you want to be in the immortal words of manager Joe Girardi but it’s a trend in the right direction and I guess you have to take what you can get at this point. Rising equals winning so keep on winning and keep on rising. That’s the plan.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 6/1

Welcome ladies and gentleman to June baseball. Boy has this year been flying by and boy has this major league season been flying by as well. We’re already one-third of the way through the season and we’ve already seen the calendar change its pages twice. Welcome to June baseball once again. To kick off the month of June the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will be finishing off a three-game series this week inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto. In the finale the Yankees will send their ace and stopper to the mound looking for a win in Masahiro Tanaka while the Jays will counter with a young stud of their own in Aaron Sanchez.

Tanaka heads into this start tonight on a modest two decision win streak where he has posted a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings. Granted those two starts were against the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays and not a potent offense like the Toronto Blue Jays but Tanaka held his own in his last start against them as well on April 12 taking a no-decision in five innings of work. Tanaka allowed just two runs in an eventual 3-2 Yankees victory.
 Sanchez will be making his second start of the young season against the Yankees tonight looking to improve on his six inning no-decision on April 12. In the start Sanchez allowed just one earned run which was one of eight times in 10 starts this season that Sanchez has held the opposing team to three earned runs of fewer. Let’s not make it nine out of eleven tonight.

The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. The Yankees head to Detroit to take on the always tough Detroit Tigers after this contest but I have a feeling they aren’t looking ahead to that weekend series just yet. These Blue Jays always play the Yankees tough and that offense is as tough as ever, especially when you bat a guy like Jose Bautista leadoff. Hopefully Tanaka’s splitter is on point tonight and the Yankees get out of town with a win.

Go Yankees!

How Long is the Leash on Alan Cockrell?

Ever since the Yankees let their hitting coach Kevin Long hit free agency and head over to the crosstown rival New York Mets the position has been filled by a few names that not many really know. Since the Kevin Long firing in the Bronx the Yankees have watched as Jeff Pentland and Alan Cockrell took the bull by the horns and watched as the duo helped the team to the second highest scoring total in all of Major League Baseball in 2015. 2016 brought new change with Pentland now gone and Cockrell in charge and Marcus Thames as his assistant but despite having much of the same cast of characters the Yankees offense has gone from Bronx Bombers to Bronx Bombless leaving me to wonder just how long the leash for Cockrell truly is in New York.

Before simply blaming the coach and not the players, which is not what I am doing whatsoever, one must keep a few things in mind. Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and the core of the Yankees is another year older and another year past their primes so a regression was to be expected but if it works for one it works for the other. At this point in the season Didi Gregorius has been much better in 2016 than he was at this point in 2015 while Beltran looked like Beltran in his prime for much of the 2016 campaign, another big shot in the arm when comparing this year to last year. Starlin Castro has led the Yankees in most offensive categories after the team suffered through Stephen Drew for much of last year and McCann has been McCann and possibly the MVP of the club when you factor in his defense and game calling. So what has changed?

Mark Teixeira is nowhere to be found and continues to refuse to make any adjustments at the plate while also sticking to his “I’m not going to beat the shift I’m simply going to hit over it” mantra. That isn’t exactly working out this season and for much of the season anything Chase Headley has done hasn’t worked out either. We never heard talk of adjustments being made or anything, just excuses, and while Headley had a stretch of about a week where he was hitting well he is seemingly heading back into his old ways. Gardner’s numbers are seemingly down across the board as are Jacoby Ellsbury’s and Alex Rodriguez’s. Rodriguez has an excuse, a pair of injuries and a 40-year old body are expected to slow you down, but Ellsbury, Gardner, Headley and Teixeira do not.

So will the Yankees fire Alan Cockrell if things don’t turn around and should they? Hal has already stuck up for his coaches and blamed the players so the first question is a likely a hard “no” but the second one is a little harder to judge. How much bearing does a coach really have on a veteran team like the Yankees? Very little to none? Am I correct in that assumption? If I am than why even bother firing him? Fire the players. That would be my plan but I guess that’s why I’m sitting here in my office writing about it and not making the decisions, huh?

Weekly Check In: Gary Sanchez

EDIT: A cracked thumb kind of gets in the way of this idea, doesn't it? Ouch. Brain lapse. My apologies.

The time may be now for Gary Sanchez, El Gary Sanchez as he is known on Twitter, as the New York Yankees placed Dustin Ackley on the 15 day disabled list with a torn labrum in his shoulder. The Yankees are already incredibly thin at the first base position behind Mark Teixeira and that mixture just got thinner with the loss of Ackley. The Yankees have already discussed working Austin Romine out at the position in a MLB game and manager Joe Girardi was quick to remind us that Chase Headley and Brian McCann have worked there as well in seasons past but what about Sanchez?

Not necessarily Sanchez for first base but if you have a catcher behind the plate and your backup catcher at first base aren’t you taking a pretty big risk not having a third catcher? Especially when said catcher is only at first base because there isn’t any other suitable replacements at first base? Wouldn’t it make sense, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, to have a third catcher who can hit right-handed and also DH on the roster than a Robert Refsnyder?

I think so and if the Yankees think so then Refsnyder will go down and Sanchez will be up. Stay tuned. 


This Day In New York Yankees History 6/1: Yankees Draft a Man Named Jeter

On this day in 1992 the San Diego Padres used the first pick in the MLB First Year Players Draft to take Phil Nevin over Derek Jeter. Jeter would fall to sixth overall to the New York Yankees because he was seeking a bonus of at least $1 million to skip college at the University of Michigan. Nevin had a pretty nice career but Jeter is a future Hall of Fame player, and the rest is history.

Also on this day in 1941 Johnny Sturm hits his first major league home run in the eight inning in front of the largest crowd in the American League at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. The home run gives the Yankees a 2-1 lead and would begin a streak in which one or more Yankees will hit a home run in 24 consecutive games, a record that will stand for 53 years.

Finally on this day in 1925 Lou Gehrig began his Iron Man streak of playing in 2,130 straight games when he came off the Yankees bench to pinch hit for rookie infielder Pee-Wee Wanninger. Wanninger is no stranger to consecutive games played streaks as he was the player who ended Everett Scott's 1,307 consecutive games played streak when he started for Scott on May 5 at shortstop.