Thursday, September 22, 2016

Inept Yankee Offense Fails to Sweep Last Place Rays, Lose 2-0

In front of what looked to be about 2200 people, the Yankees failed to complete the three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays in their final game at Tropicana Field this season. Tonight's starting pitching matchup was a battle of rookies: Luis Cessa for New York and left-hander Blake Snell for Tampa Bay. Both hurlers tossed a well-pitched game, but it was Snell and the Rays that were the beneficiaries of any and all of the run support.

It didn't take long for the Rays to hit the scoreboard, jumping on the rookie Cessa for a run in the bottom of the first. Just as the Yankees did, Tampa got their first two runners of the game on base with back-to-back singles. Unlike New York, however, the Rays' Brad Miller delivered with a one-out RBI single to left that scored leadoff hitter Logan Forsythe to give the Fish a first inning one run lead.

Despite getting no run support to speak of, Luis Cessa kept the Yankees in the game through six innings. In the bottom of the sixth, Cessa allowed just the second run of the game by serving up a two-out solo shot to Cory Dickerson, clearing the wall in right-center and extending the Rays lead to two. As Luis Severino took over in the bottom of the seventh, Cessa departed with a solid final line of six innings pitched, allowing just two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out six.

And despite scoring 16 runs in the first two games of this series, New York was absolutely incapable of pushing even a single run across the dish, falling to Tampa by a final score of 2-0. We are past the point of being content with winning a series, you have to win EVERY game that you play if you have any hopes of playing in October. And with Baltimore getting swept in their four-game series against Boston tonight, the Yankees failed to pull within 2.5 games of the second wild-card spot with their sub-par performance this evening.

After the game, the Yankees travel to Toronto tonight in preparation for their four-game wrap-around series with the Blue Jays, with first pitch scheduled for tomorrow night at 7:05 PM/EST.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 9/22

Here we go one last time this week and this season as the New York Yankees make the trip to Tropicana Field to square off with the last place Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are looking to all but spoil the Yankees season and any team’s season who they face for the remainder of the season while New York is still hanging onto their playoff hopes and dreams by the skin of their teeth. That makes games like this, games that are winnable on paper, all the more important. With that said the New York Yankees will send Luis Cessa to the mound looking to secure that win while the Rays counter with a rookie of their own in Blake Snell. The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Tropicana Field and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV.

The Yankees have to play tonight in Tampa until around 10:00 pm ET or later and then make the trip across the border to Toronto for another 7:07 pm ET start tomorrow against the Blue Jays so you can expect one tired team tomorrow. MLB schedule makers strike again. We can’t get caught looking ahead to tomorrow though, not before the team takes care of business tonight. So take care of business, every day.

Follow along with us on social media by either liking our page on Facebook or by giving our Twitter account @GreedyStripes a follow. Go Yankees!

Tanaka To Miss Next Start

Masahiro Tanaka will not make his next scheduled start, which was set to be next Monday. According to Erik Boland and Mark Feinsand, Tanaka's injury is said to be a flexor mass strain. Joe Girardi said it was a "slight, slight, slight" strain.
"I should be able to come back strong (next week) so I’m not really worried"-Mashiro Tanaka
It turns out 'Hiro will rest for another five days before making his last scheduled start of the season. At least we hope it's not his last start. Right?

Dr. Robert G. Najarian, an orthopedic surgeon who works for the Washington Nationals and Redskins describes the injury like this...
The flexor mass can become strained when it is stretched or slightly torn. This type of injury can be acute—that is, a sudden injury that occurs during a single event, such as a baseball pitch gone wrong. Or, it can develop over time through overuse. 
A flexor mass strain isn’t exactly rare, but it’s not a terribly common injury. When we do see it, it’s usually in professional pitchers—a result of the repetitiveness and extreme velocity of their throws.
Based on the fact that Tanaka is not that hard a thrower, I'm guessing this injury is something that's developed over time.

The doctor goes on to say that the injury rarely requires surgery, and is normally treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and rehab. However, he says that recovery time is usually somewhere between 2-8 weeks. Therefore, it's possible that Tanaka's next start will indeed come in 2017.

Looking Back at My 2016 Comeback Player of the Year Award Predictions

This is my post regarding the Comeback Player of the Year Awards that I wrote in March. In the post I predicted that Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles would win it for the American League and that Wil Myers would win it for the National League with the full knowledge that Major League Baseball only hands out one award for the entire league. I’m just nice like that and I want to hand out two. Here is the post with my predictions and explanations. It looks like I did a halfway decent job with these predictions if I don’t say so myself. 

The Comeback Player of the Year, quite possibly the most useless award in all of Major League Baseball’s set of awards? Why you may ask? The league or whoever votes on these things focus too much, in my opinion, on a guy who missed a chunk of the previous season due to injury and less on a player that makes a true comeback. I was pretty on the fence about this award before last year but when Alex Rodriguez did not win the award that solidified it for me. Leaving my bias and opinions aside I wanted to take a stab at an American League and National League Comeback Player of the Year Award winner for the 2016 season. 

In the American League I went a little off the script here with my pick. This player is technically still coming back from an injury but the injury did not keep him off the field for the majority of the 2015 season. In fact this man played much of the 2015 season on the field and behind the dish for the Baltimore Orioles, Mr. Matt Wieters. Wieters is entering the 2016 campaign in his second season removed from Tommy John surgery after playing in 75 games last season. Wieters struggled with the bat last season and struggled to command the running game at times last season. They say positional players need a year to recover from the injury while pitchers need two full years to be fully back to themselves but everybody is different just like every injury is different. Wieters has to throw the ball back to the pitcher a good 150-200 times a night, control the running game and bat on a surgically repaired elbow that may or may not have been 100% when he did it all. Wieters should benefit from a long winter off and should be back to form in 2016 winning the award outright.  

I considered going with Marcus Stroman here for the AL but after that September and October he had I felt like he already came back, you know?  

In the National League I went with a “can’t miss” prospect that has yet to live up to the expectations and hype over a 162-game schedule. Wil Myers of the San Diego Padres was thought to be the next big thing when he was with Tampa but after a trade to the West Coast and a wrist injury later we fans were left wondering once again what could have been with Myers. 2016 may finally be the year we see a full season and a productive season out of Myers as he has yet to play in more than 88 games in a season during his career or get more than 335 at bats. Myers started out last season hitting well with four home runs and a .286 average in April as the leadoff man before hurting his wrist again and ending his season. Myers, if he can finally stay healthy, might not only win this award but may be in consideration for the NL MVP Award as well. You never know. 

Gary Sanchez is NOT Kevin Maas

Gary Sanchez is a man possessed and will not be stopped this season after Brian Cashman unleashed the Kraken on the league earlier this season. Sanchez has done nothing but unload on almost every pitcher thrown in front of him this season while also adding great defense and game calling behind the plate but while most are happy to see one of the Baby Bombers not only get a chance and succeed there are others who have to question how real this run really is. Some expected Sanchez to cool off by now, and he hasn’t while others have gone as far as to compare Sanchez to another couple of Yankees who started hot only to fizzle away, Shane Spencer and more notably a former Yankees first baseman named Kevin Maas.

Shane Spencer came up in 1998 only to belt 10 home runs in first 67 at bats helping the Yankees to a World Series ring and 114 victories while Kevin Maas hit 13 home runs in his first 110 at bats back in 1990. The similarities in them both are that both had careers that started hot and both had careers that quickly fizzled out but what Maas has that makes him unique to Spencer is that Maas was once considered a Yankees top prospect, like Sanchez, where Spencer was not.

One has to keep in mind that Sanchez has never hit the ball with this much authority in his career, not even in the lowest levels of the minor leagues, so a regression is in store for the Yankees catcher and his fans. The thing about Sanchez though is that he’s pretty much always been solid, especially for a catcher, offensively speaking so even with a regression to say .275 with 20-30 home runs that’s still something special for a 23-year old and a catcher in general.

Unlike Maas and Spencer, and Jesus Montero before him as well, he has the defense to stick and the on-base percentage to allow you to wait out the lows in order to reap the benefits of the highs. He may never hit in the .350’s again and he may never be on pace to hit something like 200 home runs in a season, I’m just guessing and exaggerating slightly, but having watched Sanchez as a 16-year old kid to what he has developed into today I just can’t see him falling by the wayside like Maas and Spencer. I don’t have a stat to back that up or anything other than my gut and the eye test I’ve received in 2016 but this kid is just too good, too mature, too willing to put in the word and too cool under pressure to let the big lights of New York and MLB pitching affect him. He can hit fastballs and he can hit the offspeed stuff too and I just can’t think of anything that he can’t do. That’s why he will be successful. Write it down.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 9/22

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays will finish off their series today with the finale of their three-game set inside Tropicana Field. The Yankees lost much of what they were fighting for this season in that Boston series over the weekend taking much of the wind out of the sails for the Rays who looked to be spoilers for the remainder of the season. The Yankees kept fighting despite that tough series and Boston and will presumably keep fighting until Rob Manfred and the MLB schedule makers tell them to go home for the long winter ahead. That includes today’s contest which will showcase Luis Cessa taking the mound for the Yankees against Blake Snell for the Rays.

Cessa has taken the loss in each of his last two starts after not notching a loss as a starter for the entire season prior but the Yankees right-hander pitched well enough to win in both of those statistical losses. The last time the Rays faced Cessa they tee’d off on him for three home runs giving him his first loss of his Major League career on September 11th so hopefully Cessa made the adjustments necessary before tonight’s rematch.

Snell hasn’t been especially sharp in his last five starts and has not seen the sixth inning in four of those five starts including his last start against the Baltimore Orioles. In that start Snell lasted just 4.1 innings and is due in large part to a struggle to find the strike zone in recent starts.

The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Tropicana Field and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. This will be the final time the Yankees see Tampa Bay this season and if they want to look for a reason why they aren’t making the postseason in 2016 they don’t have to look any farther than the Rays. The Rays are a last place team, now granted they aren’t your typical last place team that you can beat up on with Alex Cobb back and Chris Archer still a good pitcher despite pushing for 20 losses this season, and playoffs teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat. The Yankees are supposed to beat the Rays and they didn’t and that’s a huge reason why they aren’t heading to the postseason this season. Right a wrong, beat the Rays. Go Yankees!

Looking Back at My 2016 Cy Young Award Predictions

Before you jump all over my predictions, which I admit were atrocious, be sure to link me to where you predicted that Rick Porcello would be a 20-game winner and where you said that Jon Lester, Madison Bumgarner and others would be fighting it out in the National League. Until then I respectfully stand by my predictions and take the “L” like a man because boy was I wrong. Here are my predictions that originally went live in April of this year in all their glory.

The award, as much as I hate to say this, has to go to the Boston Red Sox ace David Price. Give David Price two runs of support or more and on most days that’s in the bag. While Boston did little to improve their offense on paper their core is getting a year older and closer to their prime while Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval almost can’t be as bad or worse for Boston then they were in 2015. The Cy Young can be an individual award sometimes more so than a team award and Price is the kind of pitcher to throw you eight or nine innings and win the game himself or hand it off to Craig Kimbrel in the 9th. Price for Cy Young, again.

In the National League the award has to go the new ace of the staff in Pittsburgh, and former New York Yankees draft pick, Gerrit Cole. Cole is an elite starter with an elite defense behind him and an offense that can win him games even on his off nights. Cole won 19 games last season with a 2.60 ERA and it seemed like many didn’t blink an eye thanks to Jake Arrieta, they will blink an eye this season as Cole takes the next step forward in his career. 

Yep, I bombed these predictions. Oh well. Maybe next year Cubs fans. 

Weekly Prospects Check In: Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery has come a long way in 2016 and many still haven’t even noticed. That’s fine to Montgomery I’m sure but myself, as a bringer of information, I would feel like I was doing a disservice if I didn’t bring him up one last time in these showcase posts before they cease at the end of the week. Montgomery, who I read has a delivery type that was compared to that of Clayton Kershaw, started the Triple-A Championship game in a one-game winner-take-all series for the Scranton RailRiders which goes to show you what the organization thinks of him, his stuff and his makeup.

In that start Montgomery lasted five innings allowing six hits and one run with five strikeouts and no walks in the victory for Scranton. The RailRiders won their first ever Triple-A championship and that came on the arm of Montgomery. How freaking cool is that?

Congratulations to Montgomery, the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders and the entire New York Yankees organization. What a ride and what a season. 


This Day in New York Yankees History 9/22: Sori, Right Number

Alfonso Soriano was not always a middle of the lineup type hitter for the New York Yankees like we saw the second half of the 2013 season. At one point Soriano was a lead off hitter for New York and on this day in 2003 Soriano hit his 13th lead off home run of the season establishing a new major league record. Soriano would break the tie with the Baltimore Orioles Brady Anderson after he hit 12 leading of the game in 1996.

Also on this day in 1969 the great Willie Mays joined exclusive company when he joined Babe Ruth in the 600 home run club. It's not really New York Yankees history but the Giants Hall of Fame hitter achieved the feat with a seventh inning pinch hit two run home run off Padres pitcher Mike Corkins.